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Tary no longer ; toward thyn heritage 

Haste on thy way, and be of right good chere. 

Go ech day onward on thy pilgrimage ; 
Thynk how short time thou shall abyde here." 

Vox ultima crucis. JOHN L.YDGATE, 1370-1447 (?). 



[All rights reserved] 

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON &> Co. 
at the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh 










V. ABROAD AND AT HOME . . . .156 









THIS is what lies upon the table at the moment 
a bundle of letters, some scraps of paper with 
notes of conversations and other data in my 
own handwriting, and a common, penny ac- 
count book with a green paper cover and mock 
white stitching in imitation of a ledger. This 
last has obviously never been put to the pur- 
pose for which it had been originally designed, 
but used as a diary, the various entries show- 
ing that they had been made in pencil during a 
few short weeks. The writing is a good deal 
rubbed ; the corners and edges are stained and 
worn ; and the book itself shows signs of 
having been much crumpled, as if carried for 
long in some one's pocket. 

Up to last night these letters and papers had 


been lying for years locked in a drawer, tied 
up with a narrow strip of buckskin that had 
once been pipe-clayed but had long since turned 
yellow. The whole collection amounted to 
very little, and there was something almost 
forlorn about its appearance. Yet it was all 
there was to go by all from which a record 
might be compiled of a short life, and what 
had once been a close, personal intercourse. 

Could anything be done ? That is what I 
had asked myself before, and what I asked my- 
self again now. Memory would come to my 
help and fill some gaps. These notes that I 
had made years ago might bring other matters 
back to mind. And then again, there were 
those still living who had witnessed the whole 
life and who would be able to recall much 
tell me of what was said and what was thought ; 
recount for me episodes to do with earlier days ; 
and set me right where I was wrong. A few 
of the older friends of the family could certainly 
be relied upon ; but the quarter where I felt I 
could get more what I wanted than elsewhere 
was among the villagers in his own home. 
They knew him and had in many a case loved 
him, and among the inhabitants of the place, 
therefore from the tenant of the largest farm 
to the poorest labourer on the land help would 


be forthcoming, and in such ways I might be 
able to make up for the slenderness of these 
remains. It was worth an effort. 

I had often cast a glance at the bundle, but, 
for many a year, had never undone the tie till 
last night. Why should I ? I knew exactly 
what lay there, or thought I did even to 
knowing some of the letters and the rest by 
heart. He was my friend my one, great, 
intimate friend ; and so it was that I had rarely 
even looked at the outside of the drawer with- 
out momentarily realising what lay there. 

I knew that this packet of letters was safe 
where it was, and also that the small locked 
drawer of the piece of Chippendale, with its 
beautiful inlay and characteristic brass handles, 
standing in the corner of my room, held many 
precious things besides that, in fact, that par- 
ticular drawer was as my holy of holies the 
contents a kind of epitome of a life and there- 
fore to be approached in a becoming spirit, and 
not when one was short of a job on a wet day. 
To fumble in it in that way would, to my mind, 
be tantamount to sacrilege. One must be quite 
alone when handling such things, and absolutely 
safe from interruption at least, such was my 

Thus it was only last night, late, when the 


rest of the household had retired to bed, that, 
the spirit moving me, I took a candle, and sat 
down on a low rush chair and turned the lock. 
Then I realised in a moment that I was quite 
wrong. The scent of the drawer that indefin- 
able scent that all old drawers and their contents 
acquire as a matter of certainty in course of 
years was familiar enough ; but memory had 
played me false, and instead of knowing the 
many things that met my eye, I found I had 
quite forgotten some of them were there at all. 
Here, for instance, was a string of black and 
gold Venetian beads, wrapped carefully in 
tissue paper. These, of course, had their story. 
Then, close to a long envelope containing three 
commissions signed by the greatest of all 
Queens, was an ordinary pill-box, and inside 
this a bullet, with a mark upon it as though it 
had struck something and smashed it. A date 
had been scratched in the lead on one side ; 
and this is quite sufficient about that. Next 
to it was a number of regimental buttons 
strung on a leather bootlace and now much 
tarnished, and near them an envelope with 
this upon it, under a star in red chalk : " A 
piece of our old Regimental Colour that was 
carried at the Alma, especially, and all through 
the Crimea, as well as the Indian Mutiny, 


N.B. Over a thousand men are said to have 
fallen beneath the Colours of which this scrap 
is a part." 

A single brass spur ; the mute of a violin ; 
a carefully folded piece of music paper, with a 
tune an old, forgotten, Irish folk-song, scrib- 
bled down originally in pencil by this friend of 
mine as he listened to it sung on the rain- 
drenched slopes of Bochragh, and subsequently 
beautifully harmonised came next, together 
with a small flat case, lined with crimson satin 
and containing three medals and clasps, with 
coloured ribbons. 

These last, again, might pass ; but lying 
close by, was a dog's collar, with the name 
" Murphy " thereon, together with a cotton 
handkerchief with a blue border. Such things 
told much, and were accordingly folded away 
carefully again in a corner. A small cigar-box 
held a wonderful assortment of relics a salmon 
fly ; an empty cartridge from a sporting rifle ; 
a leather watch chain with a rusty steel swivel ; 
a small silver flask bearing the names of two 
campaigns engraved on one side ; a photograph 
of a mother and a child in a battered, leather 
case ; and a prayer-book much stained by salt 
water. Each of course had its story, though 
such need not concern us here. 


The bundle of letters and papers now in 
front of me was on quite a different plane. 
They had lain right at the back of the drawer, 
together with the battered, green, penny ac- 
count book ; and beneath them was a copy of 
the New Testament in French, bound in red 
morocco, and with the name of a dead sister 
on the fly-leaf. 

It had seemed to me, formerly, to be fitting 
that these should lie together, and it seems so 
still the one with the name of a sister I had 
passionately loved in her own handwriting, and 
this packet these meagre details of a close 
and intimate friendship docketed by myself 
simply with his name AINSLIE GORE. 

The night was young when I removed the 
packet to the table, undid the tie, and began 
scanning one letter after another. With the 
exception of five that I knew lay together 
somewhere here, all were addressed to myself, 
and some dated back to the days of our boy- 
hood. We had been neighbours in the 
country ; we were sent to our first school to- 
gether ; had gone on to Eton together later ; 
and finally joined the same Regiment, and 
lived the full life that young soldiers do, seeing 
many things, doing many more, and dreaming 
many dreams ; the road of life lying broad and 


open in front, in the blaze of the glad sun, 
with nothing apparently to check the swing of 
the march to the goal and the blue hills. 

I only picked out a sentence or two in many 
of the letters, passing some over unopened, or 
with merely a glance at the date and the head- 
ing. Then came one or two that were scanned 
more closely before being returned jto their 
envelopes, the hand unconsciously quickening 
as the next and then the next were referred to. 

The wording of most of them was familiar 
enough ; so also the subjects touched upon. 
Memory had at least not played one false here. 
The very hours of which many of these letters 
spoke returned vividly to mind as I read : I 
was back again in "the singing season," when 
the days rang from morn till eve with boyish 
laughter and each successive summer was a 
twelvemonth long back, too, to the days when 
boyhood was left finally behind, when outlook 
began to grow more serious and ideas more 

The convictions and principles that had ruled 
this life had remained much the same through- 
out. Subjected from time to time to fresh 
influences they had necessarily been, the world 
being no place in which to walk about with a 
cut and dried formula in the pocket. New 


impressions had necessarily come with the 
years, and new estimates had been quietly 
made, character being built up and strengthened 
by such means, and growing always, with him, 
to fairer proportions. 

He was never one to accept what he met 
with on trust. Rather was his habit of mind 
to analyse everything, and thus when some 
new principle, or what struck him as being 
possibly essential, came within his range, he, 
so to speak, took it and flung it on the counter 
to see what ring it had, or whether it would 
ring at all. Once satisfied on such score, he 
was singularly tenacious of change ; but it must 
be confessed that the standard to which he 
habitually subjected matters was a high one, 
and that the rules governing his actions and 
even at times, as I thought, too rigidly were 
no ordinary ones. 

Such habits he had no doubt originally 
acquired in his home. His home was his 
standard, and I have certainly never met one 
in whom home influences remained so green, 
and throughout the term of life that was granted 
him. It was not so much in the direction of 
the things he had lisped in early childhood or 
had been told by his father and mother, but 
was more to be sought in the whole atmosphere 


of his bringing up the exceeding beauty of 
his surroundings, indoors and out ; the examples 
he had always before him ; the refining influ- 
ences he was continually imbibing, and in his 
earlier days quite unconsciously. 

To beauty in its countless forms he was 
ever peculiarly susceptible, especially beauty 
in nature. He lived an outdoor life, and thus 
grew up familiar with all things to do with the 
land, from where to look for the signs of the 
first awakening of spring, to what snipe and 
wild duck would be about when the seasons 
of the year had nearly run their course, when 
skies were dark with snow, and northerly winds 
blew keen. I often used to think that beauty 
in some form was a necessity to him. It was 
not only out of doors that he looked for it and 
took his fill ; it was the same at all times, no 
matter where he might be or what engaged 
upon. Thus, quite apart from the material 
things that met his eye, he sought for it, accord- 
ing to his mood at the moment and as if hungry 
and in need of food. 

Now and again he would spend whole hours 
absorbed in the sonnets of Shakespeare, read- 
ing them till he had many a one by heart 
among his favourite poems in Shelley, Keats, 
or Wordsworth, or in studying closely such 


works as The Ring and the Book, and In 
Memoriam. He would get up after that, 
thrust his hands deep into his pockets, and walk 
out oblivious of anyone in the room at the time ; 
and on reaching outdoor air, would sometimes 
throw his head up, looking at the sky, as if he 
sought answer there to some question that 
puzzled him. 

Of the poets he was never tired ; but I always 
thought that of the many influences that went 
to mould him, music was answerable for as 
much as any. For the piano he had a natural 
facility, being also gifted with an exceptionally 
beautiful touch. He always spoke of Beethoven 
with awe. He played Chopin well. He was 
fond of Schumann. Mendelssohn, so far as the 
piano was concerned, possessed few attractions 
for him, and he left him generally alone. At 
the same time he played light things and pretty 
things by later-day composers, realising that if 
others were to be interested and entertained, it 
was necessary for him to cultivate a certain 
catholicity of taste. 

When alone by himself, and if anyone chanced 
to pass the library where the largest piano dwelt, 
they would hear him as often as not playing 
Bach ; the great Master always standing to 
him in the light of a king. I remember inter- 


rupting him one day when so engaged and 
when I had waited long for him to join me in 
an expedition to our stream, the May fly being 
then on the water and trout rising freely. He 
would not be enticed away and did not stop, 
but went on steadily from the prelude he was 
studying to the end of the fugue. Then he 
jumped up, exclaiming " Here! this is selfish!" 
his eyes quite dark in colour and his face full 
of light. His was a tall lissom figure, and he 
walked with slinging gait, and the next moment 
we were striding out together to see if we 
could land some of those fish. 

" I don't know what it is about music," he 
said, his arm in mine, and his head bent slightly 
towards me " or if you would understand me. 
At times I am afraid of it. It sets me on fire, 
and I feel as if I daren't go near it. I know, 
too, that it makes a fool of me now and then, 
and am jolly well ashamed of it. But some- 
times, and when listening to something exactly 
in tune with the moment, I can tell you this 
given the right tune, perhaps at the wrong 
time, I firmly believe that music could lead me 
to the devil/' 

Shortly after that he made several beautiful 
casts right under the hanging branches of some 
willows and against the wind, hooked the best 


fish of the evening, and landed it, with a joy- 
ousness that might have made a stranger write 
him down as first and before all a sportsman, 
perhaps as a fisherman and nothing else. 

Yet, in reality, there were as few limits to 
his pursuits as there were to his interests, though 
it is right to add that one among these last 
invariably stood out prominently from the rest. 
I have said that his home was the standard by 
which he judged most things ; it was also his 
passion, and for it no sacrifice could ever be 
too great. His love for it influenced his life, 
and to a large extent governed and controlled 
his actions as he grew up. 

And if, in his sensitive way, he shrunk from 
logical conclusions, and thrust from him all 
thought to do with the future here, so far as it 
might concern himself, he knew that, humanly 
speaking, his beautiful home would one day be 
his ; that to him would fall the care of it, with all 
the responsibilities and obligations that owner- 
ship entailed ; and, what was of even greater 
importance in his eyes, the maintenance of the 
traditions of his race. Of these last he was 
rightly jealous, pride of family being very strong 
in him, and the honour of his class more precious 
than all possible possessions put together. He 
was well born, and showed this at all points ; 


there was every prospect of his being fairly well 
off, and, knowing this, he was at all times 
open-handed to a fault. Possessed of such 
traditions, given to all manly exercises and out- 
door pursuits, favoured as he was by birth, and 
graced with good looks and a winning manner, 
he stood always for what he was as good an 
example as might be found of what an English 
gentleman might be. 

Faults, of course, he had. He was some- 
what quick tempered, impetuous, and given to 
be over critical ; and he certainly never suffered 
fools gladly. He would often fire up when 
things annoyed him, especially where he fancied 
the actions of others were wanting in charity 
or were unjust. And if such faults as these 
were in many instances the common failings of 
youth, there were signs later on in his short 
life of his getting the better of them. 

Where wrong was done to himself he could 
forgive at once ; but he could not altogether 
forget at the same time, and in this he differed 
little from the remainder of mankind. With a 
temperament such as his, he could not fail to 
be somewhat sensitive. Possibly he liked to 
be liked, though he never showed the slightest 
trace of any craving for popularity, and indeed 
always condemned anything of the kind. He 


never strove to put himself in the forefront, 
and he was always unduly modest a failing 
more than a fault, and that in his case added a 
certain charm to his character. 

Looking back now, it seems impossible to 
judge him by any ordinary standard. He was 
too many-sided. The calling he chose might 
have seemed to some likely to prove quite 
foreign to his disposition ; yet he had from the 
first refused to hear of any other, finally throw- 
ing his whole heart into it and being marked 
by those who watched him as one certain to 
rise to the top. In the same way, his dreamy, 
Celtic temperament, tinged as it was by a 
certain melancholy and a besetting love of soli- 
tude his love of music and his poetic tenden- 
cies might have created a doubt about his 
being at heart a sportsman ; yet besides a 
natural aptitude for games of all kinds and 
he seemed to revel in the joys of them all alike 
he was a first-class horseman and rider to 
hounds, and excelled as a shot ; often mention- 
ing, with a merry laugh, that he was duly 
" blooded " out cubbing in charge of the coach- 
man, when seven years of age and when he 
brought home a pad in his pocket to the sub- 
sequent annoyance of the household and fur- 
thermore that he shot his first rabbit when nine. 


There were many references to such things 
in these earlier letters, and also to those others 
outlined here ; but I found myself passing most 
of them by after a while, and looking for some- 
thing else. I came upon what I wanted at 
last five letters and the small book, tied to- 
gether separately with a piece of crimson silk. 

One was in a girlish hand and quite short 
and unimportant a mere line of thanks for 
something that had been forgotten, and ending 
" I am commanded by father and mother (!) 
to ask you to come and shoot, over Slapton's, 
on Thursday, and to sleep the night ; and I 
am to say that they will be so pleased if you 
can manage it." 

Those referred to here were my own parents, 
and the writer of this apparently innocent letter 
was the sister just spoken of. Perhaps he had 
read into it something not visible to others. I 
think so, for he had prized the note sufficiently 
to take it to India with him a few days after it 
was written. The others lying with it, were 
one from his father and another from his 
mother, with two from myself. The whole 
came into my possession, with the small account 
book, in the course of my duties, and I was 
subsequently allowed to retain them all. 

I only glanced at a few more after that : the 


light of the lamp was growing dim, and my 
candles had nearly burnt themselves out. The 
last I opened ran to two sheets. It was mostly 
on a subject that always interested him, and 
ended thus : "My own feeling in regard to 
such a speculation as this, is that if the world 
were just, men would oftener pass for what 
they are. As it is, the world not for the most 
part being so, appearances and possessions, 
place and the purse, go frequently to form the 
verdict. You know what I have always said, 
and I hold by it. A man is great by what he 
is, not by what he does, much less by what he 
has. It seems to me, therefore, that we human 
beings, apart from the opinions of our fellows, 
ought always to strive to be, rather than to 
appear to strut the stage, saying, * See what a 
fine figure I cut look this way, please, all of 
you ! ' That's what that means. You know 
what Tennyson says in Love thou thy Land: I 
often repeat the lines to myself 

Nor toil for title, place, or touch 

Of pension, neither count on praise : 
It grows to guerdon after-days : 

Nor deal in watch-words over much. 

That's about it, I think. Be yourself, and let 
the rest slide. But I am getting prosy : it is 
late, and I must stop. Good-bye, A.G," 


The last words brought the fact home to 
myself. It was late ; or rather, dawn was at 
hand and another day would be shortly break- 
ing. The letters had all been numbered, when 
they were first put into the drawer years ago, 
and they were all in their proper sequence now. 
The few remaining papers I scarcely looked 
at ; but tied the whole up again, and then sat 
down with them in front of me, to lose myself 
for half an hour in thought. 

I had not expected, when I opened the 
drawer some hours before, that the old 
memories would return with such vividness. 
I thought I knew, and all too well, the salient 
points in the story of this life, and so I did. 
But scanning these letters rapidly, one after 
the other, had made me realise that earlier 
impressions had in reality become dim by lapse 
of time : the past stood out once more before 
me with almost painful clearness : the familiar, 
loose-knit figure the striking, thoughtful face 
even the sound of the voice, seemed to return, 
as though this one intimate friend were again 
close to me in this room of mine. 

I went to the nearest window, drew up the 
blind and threw up the sash. In the intense 
stillness that reigns so often in the hour when 
dawn silently makes way for daybreak, the 


whole picture came back to mind, and the old 
questions that had battled for answer surged 
up anew to meet the same relentless silence 
as before. Sorrow had passed away : time's 
good hand had seen to that. One no longer 
mourned, though memories were green as ever. 
Some day the reason would appear, and as 
certainly as the light of the sun that would 
presently shoot up above the blue hills and 
the dark majestic forms of the great trees, 
and sweep all shadows from the sky. There 
could be no doubt whatever about that, and I 
remembered well his firm convictions on such 

Meanwhile, what of this short life, these 
letters, these papers, and the rest ? Did no 
message lie here? No life ever born into 
the world is without its office, and no one dies 
to himself. One of the most appalling facts 
of existence is, on the contrary, that our acts 
and their results run on and live ; the great 
consolation being that they are not, perhaps, 
all bad, and that good in some form, and more 
often than some think, comes out of ill. 

There were riddles here in plenty, as else- 
where, and I remembered his saying to me 
once " Nothing from which humanity suffers 
is without Divine significance. I know it to 


be desperately hard to understand ; but some- 
how or other I feel it to be true. Don't 
you see, my dear fellow, that otherwise life 
would often be a tragedy in one act and 
nothing more, there being an end to us all 
at the fall of the curtain. There can't be 
a God in heaven and that / It would mean 
waste ; and I have never been able to find 
indisputable evidence of waste anywhere. 

" Of course we ask questions," he went on 
" we are meant to. Progress is impossible 
without inquiry ; and life means progress, mind 
you the very antithesis of death. Of course 
it may be little use to expect answer always ; 
but that doesn't mean that we are not to go 
on asking and making inquiries to the utmost 
possible length. Depend upon it, we shall 
get an answer of some sort, either individually 
or collectively, and humanity will have pro- 
gressed another width of a hair. 

" What I hate most is the chap who chucks 
and won't go on just jacks up, you know, 
and swears all the conditions on this side the 
line are hopeless. That must be wrong, 
mustn't it and principally for the reason that 
life is no funeral procession ; life leads to life, 
not death!" 

I seemed to hear the words again quite 


distinctly. Perhaps I was overwrought after 
the night hours and all that the reopening 
of these letters and the rest had meant to me. 
" Life leads to life, not death," I kept repeating 
to myself; finally exclaiming, as if in acquies- 
cence " Yes, that's quite true ! " 

A white light was showing in the sky over 
the Cotswolds, and at the same moment the 
rooks began to talk to one another in the 
neighbouring elms. It was the middle of May, 
and the young birds were no longer roosting 
in the nests. The sun would rise in another 
ten minutes. The airs of daybreak were be- 
ginning to move, bearing with them the scents 
of the dawn. It was nearly four o'clock. 

The papers were carefully returned to the 
drawer after that ; and as I crossed the hall, 
the glass in the upper part of the great oriel 
window there glowed like a thousand jewels, 
for the rim of the sun showed over the hills. 

" Yes," I said to myself " I will try, even 
though I fail in my drawing to give any beauty 
of line." 



DENTON MANOR, the family home, where 
Ainslie Gore was born on the 25th of October 
1872, stands on the slopes of the Cotswold 
Hills, facing west and commanding a wide 
view of the Severn vale undulating lands, 
great woods, and broad fields, bordered for the 
most part by magnificently timbered hedge- 
rows, lying spread out below like a map of 
many colours. Nor is this all. On the farther 
side of the great river itself, the line of Dene 
Forest is often clearly visible from the front 
of the house, with the Welsh mountains now 
and again beyond that, especially when the 
warm rains that sweep up Bristol Channel 
have washed the air crystal clear in spring- 

On such days, it is even possible to count 
the trees in the clump on the summit of May 
Hill, set there originally, men say, as service- 
able landmarks for bargemen whose lot it was, 


and is, to navigate the wide Severn estuary. 
There are shallow, fixed sands there, like the 
Great Noose just below Newnham, and many 
miles, too, of dangerous shifting banks, spread 
east of this and stretching from off Frampton 
to Purton Passage farther south ay, and 
always with the treacherous tides about them, 
to make matters still more hazardous ; these 
last racing on always, with their voices not 
those of the sea though they come with the 
cry of all the gulls racing on still, with 
the solemn herons above them, to start the 
roaring bore on its impetuous journey far 

You can see these sands plainly from Denton, 
though some way off, and watch the tides 
slowly covering and laying them bare again 
in the glint of the summer sun, or in the moon- 
light of frosty, winter nights. The Manor 
House stands high, in a park of some three 
hundred acres, and is to be seen itself from all 
the country round. Immediately about it are 
gardens of great beauty, with fine oak and elm 
timber on every hand, and with cedars nigh 
two centuries in age to give shade upon its 
level lawns. The date of the house, which is 
of old red brick, is late Elizabethan ; and this 
is confirmed, not only by its obvious character, 


but also by this inscription, now almost obliter- 
ated, over its entrance door 

Blefs this house ere y e be gone, 
And God will bless y e passing on. 
1599. GRG. 

The initials are those of the Gore who estab- 
lished his family here in the first instance, and 
whose body rests in front of the altar in the 
village church, the ivy-clad tower of which is 
visible from the windows, standing amidst tall 
elms and a few scattered cottages with stone 
walls and stone-tiled roofs, grey in colour and 
beautiful to look upon. 

The full name of this member of the family 
was Giles Roger Gore. He lived to be old, 
his age being given on his tomb as 72, and 
the date of his death as 1651. He must have 
seen and heard of strange doings in his lifetime, 
being already nine years of age when the 
Spanish Armada was swept from the seas, and 
surviving Charles I by two years. And if 
there are few records of him in the old Manor 
House that he certainly built beyond a fine 
portrait by Van Dyck, this at least is established 
that he fought for the King in the great 
Civil War. He is known without doubt to 
have been at Lansdown and Roundway Down, 


when Waller was defeated ; to have witnessed 
the fall of Bristol ; to have seen the King 
master over all the south-west country saving 
Plymouth. He was with the King when he 
stopped to lay siege to Gloucester and fortune 
began from that hour to desert the Royal cause. 
He saw the siege raised, and was crippled 
for life by wounds received just afterwards at 

There is also told of him this, that is signifi- 
cant of the spirit of the man. He took his 
eldest son with him to the war, though then 
but seventeen years of age ; and when the 
youth was discovered stark and stiff upon the 
field, where he himself lay sorely wounded, he 
is said to have exclaimed to those who came to 
tell him of his loss " Had I ten instead of two, 
and God so willed, they should e'en die for his 
Majesty as this our gallant Amos hath ! " 

The Gores of those days were staunch, loyal 
folk, recking nothing, so long as they might do 
what seemed to them to be their duty ; caring 
little for hard knocks, and ready to deal them 
in return with interest where the Country's 
welfare was at stake. Such were evidently 
common characteristics among these men, and 
continued so to be among their descendants 
right on through the centuries. 


Thus some went out into the world in search 
of adventure, or obeyed the call to arms, while 
others remained on their estates at Denton, 
experiencing all the ups and downs that marked 
the eighteenth century for those on the land, 
whether owners, farmers, or labourers. Many 
documents, still extant among the family papers, 
show these things plainly, and especially, too, 
how money was lavished in improving the 
property, and the active personal interest that 
was taken in farming when it came to be the 
reigning taste of the day. The head of the 
family for the time being seems generally to 
have regarded his home as his first care, and 
to have trained his sons to so regard it when 
their turn came that is, when these sons did 
not chance to be fighting for their Country far 
afield. The family papers leave no room for 
doubt on that score. 

And so it comes about that there are ample 
records here old stained and faded letters, 
together with contemporary diaries, later jot- 
tings and the rest detailing how this and that 
one took part in the French and American wars 
of 1775-83, and how others fought and bled 
and gave their lives, right through the long 
years 1793-1815, when all Europe was in arms 


and the figure of Napoleon overshadowed the 

It seems to have been a point of honour with 
them to go where blows were being struck. 
Their Country was, to them, their Country. 
They were content to till its soil, to live always 
in the home, to work for the common weal ; 
but if a call came for them from other fields, 
they realised the larger claim and went out 
sword in hand to strike a blow for the Country's 
sake ; and, though they did not grasp this fully 
in the earlier days, to add a brick to the build- 
ing of an Empire over Seas. There were wild 
ones among them of course, and certainly one 
who brought the family to the verge of ruin ; 
but the wildness of this one's life set a limit to 
his days, and by much subsequent self-denial 
and strenuous work on the part of his successors, 
Denton was put upon its feet again. 

The Gores, then, were plain English squires, 
fit representatives of a class that was for long 
regarded as England's backbone ; men who 
lived among their people and knew them, being 
loved by them in turn ; whose aim was peace 
and happiness in life, but whose sons were 
always at the call of their Country, either on 
sea or land, to the uttermost ends of the world. 
Tradition was very strong among these men. 


and had been handed down through generations; 
and those who lived around them, whether in 
cottage or farmhouse, were no less jealous that 
such traditions should be preserved. These 
last liked to see those on whose land they lived, 
occupying the shoes of their forbears in what 
they judged to be a fitting manner with open- 
handedness and hospitality, living and letting 
live, just to all men alike, doing their duty as 
English gentlemen, without fear, and with 
honour always first. 

A marked personal pride belonged to many 
of these people of the land. They equally had 
their traditions, and such were bound up in many 
an instance with those of "the family," as they 
usually designated their neighbours living up at 
the big house. Few things they enjoyed more 
than being able to show their knowledge in 
such connection, and for a visitor to make a 
mistake was almost certainly to be corrected 
in some such way as this: " No, zir; beggin' 
your pardon. 'Twer' hisn's gran'fayther as 
builded they Almshouses. Mine did used to 
work for un, so mi old fayther 'ould tell ; an' he 
did often say as he see'd un, times, when er 
was a-layin' of it out. Hisn's son wer' this here 
Mr. John, an' it wus he as did found the loaf 
and blanket charity. Ah ! the times me an' 


mi old missus 'a blessed he 'ould take some 
reckonin', I judges ; an' that's truth." 

Such folk as these knew the family's genea- 
logy to a nicety, and if not personally cognisant 
of facts to do with earlier days, would add the 
inevitable, "so I've hear'd tell" in broadest 
Gloucestershire. And wonderful, too, were 
the stories they could recount about various 
members of the same their feats of strength 
and horsemanship especially. They liked to 
see a bit of dare-devil in that class ; admired 
pluck and fearlessness; and " didn't hold wi' 
'oomanness in men at all, at all." Thus they 
would relate, with many a grin, how " this 
un went out to the wars an' never come 'ome," 
or how " that un for a wager did take un's 
horse over the upright park palin's, that un 
did " ; how " ourn bells was rung for this un's 
wedding," >or " Tom wer' tolled two hours 
long, when that un wer' took back." Such 
items were, to their minds, nothing less than 
the most important part of the history of the 
place, and fit to be preserved accordingly. 

Of all the stories, however, there was one 
that went the rounds continually, and does so 
still, though in somewhat altered fashion. It 
had to do with the first of the Gores, and 
ran in this way, in Willum, the cobbler's word- 


ing: "You must know as] un had a famous 
horse, an' as the Lysett o' that day, whose 
property did run wi' hisn's, and do so yet 
wull, he had jus' such another. An' nothin' 
'ouldn't suit 'em but er must wager one agin 
another for a hunderd pound, an' as to which 
on 'em 'ould zwim furthest out in Severn when 
tide wus high. So down 'em goes to banks 
wer' it be two mile across yonder, by Kingston 
Pill, aboove the Royal Drift an' sets to a- 
zwimming for arl as 'em wus worth. 'Twus 
but a risky job, as it most ways be wher' 
Severn do have his say. An' it wer' Roger's 
horse as won, he did, for t'other did zwim 
an' zwim till un was drounded. 

" But when Roger as I makes so bold as 
to call un wull, when Roger did come ashore 
wi' hisn's an' blow'd proper, they tells as he 
wus, both man an' horse he says, when he 
looks at un ' Never another day's work shall 
ye do. Ye shall be turned out for the rest 
o' yer days in the leer 1 paddock, ye shall, 
and yer shoes shall hang on church door,' he 
says. An' if yer misdoubts what I do tell 
ye, step over to church yonder, an' look inside 
porch wi' yer own eyen ; an' ther' behind 

1 Empty or vacant: a good example of a Saxon word still 
in use in the county. 


a bit o' wire nettin' an' set in iron frame, 
like, be half one o' hisn's shoes and the whole 
of another : both of 'em be fore shoes, what 
be lef. That's they, right eno' yas yas 
an' what I been a-tellin' on yer be just Bible's 
truth : an' he hitched 'em ther' hisself, he did 
on thic ther' door, as everyun do know." 

The doings of the family in the big house 
remained, in this way, subjects of perennial 
interest among those who lived and worked 
on the estate, whether such belong to tradition, 
fell within living memory, or were matters of 
to-day. Between them, in the course of genera- 
tions, had sprung up a personal relationship 
that made for happiness, that scouted strangers 
talking with glib tongues, and resented outside 

These people of the land, as always, were 
very critical ; but here, as elsewhere through- 
out the Country, the verdict they passed was 
based on knowledge gathered at first hand, 
whether among this class or that farmer or 
working hand, vicar or schoolmaster, the keeper 
of the village shop or the landlord of the 
village inn, the blacksmith that shod the Squire's 
horses or the bargemen that landed him his 
coal from the other side of Severn. Each 
one brought his quota of the things he knew. 


Those they criticised among themselves were 
always before them in one way and another : 
they lived their lives hard by one another ; 
they passed each other continually in the lanes 
and the fields, going about their daily duties ; 
and between them there was always therefore 
something of a common outlook. 

Then again, at Denton, as in countless other 
places, there was continuity. The farms had 
passed from father to son for generations, being 
reckoned as good as freeholds by those who 
tilled them ; the cottagers called their houses 
their homes, and were always ready to tell 
you, moreover, that "they and their'n had 
lived ther' year on year, they had." The 
very names of these people were a distinct 
part of the parish, and to look through the 
registers, right back to the seventeenth century, 
was to meet with Tratmans and Gydes, Rutters 
and Alliffs, Webbs and Parsloes and the rest 
the names being often spelt in all kinds of 
strange ways, even where brothers were con- 
cerned and always, whether in case of births 
or marriages or deaths, with those others 
scattered over the pages the names of these 
Gores of many generations. 

All classes, then, were continually together 
here in the affairs of every day ; and there 


was unity and much of happiness. The re- 
joicings at a birth, the feastings at a wedding, 
the mourning at the close of a life, were shared, 
in great measure, by all these folk alike, though 
tradition has it, further, that few things moved 
this village community more at any time than 
the birth of a son and heir to the estates. 

Certainly, when Ainslie was born, this last 
was more than ever the case. Denton had 
long stood without a direct heir, and Rupert 
Gore and his wife Edith, daughter of Sir 
Alwyn Ward in the same county were ap- 
proaching middle age when he appeared. 
The Squire himself had seen something of 
active service in the Crimea, and on hearing 
that a son and heir was his, exclaimed in 
his jovial manner " And on Balaclava day, 
too ! That's just first-rate, and will mark the 
boy himself for a certainty." After which he 
relapsed for a while into reminiscences to do 
with events of long ago, and then went off 
in some haste to find the leader of the bell- 
ringers, that the peal in the belfry down at 
the church might carry the news all over the 

It was a still, golden, autumn day without a 
breath of wind stirring, so the sound of the 
merry peal was heard afar, and that night the 


subject was the talk in nearly every house in 
the place. Of course there were the time- 
honoured feastings, according to custom ; the 
cider horn being passed round freely, and there 
being much rejoicing. But the feeling went a 
good deal farther than this with the majority 
at Denton, and as the boy grew up, and came 
to be referred to as " That be Mr. Ainslie, our 
young Squire" there were some, and more 
especially the head keeper, Giles Merrett, the 
old coachman, William Welfare, and such like, 
who fancied that, out of doors at least, they 
were entitled to have a hand in his bringing 
up, just as there were others "who kep' an 
eye on him, unbeknownst" lest harm befell 

Among the farmers and the majority of 
the cottagers, it was much the same. The 
one who would some day be their Squire was 
regarded here as almost common property ; 
and while he rode his pony with the Berkeley 
hounds till it was blown, or appeared round 
the corner of a covert stalking rabbits on a 
summer evening, there were many who con- 
sidered his credit as bound up with their own, 
and took note of him as he grew up with an 
ever-increasing interest. 

And while the inhabitants of the place and 



the more prominent among the dependents up 
at the house, talked and acted in these ways, 
the boy, Ainslie, himself grew up in an atmos- 
phere that was fitted above all others to qualify 
him for his position in life. He knew every 
yard of the estate before he had been long in 
his teens, and had come by this knowledge, 
and much else, out hunting. He had picked 
up something about the crops in the fields 
how and when they were sown, grew up, and 
were harvested and had learnt this when shoot- 
ing over the manor. He had come to know 
the points to look for in sheep and stock, just 
as he had in the case of a horse, having gathered 
these things in chats with stockmen or from 
the kindly words of the farmers. He had 
learnt at the same time the elements of wood- 
craft how trees were planted, oaks stripped, 
the numerous uses to which ash poles could be 
put, the value of larch in and out of ground, 
how ash stood in comparison with oak the 
head woodman who had served the family from 
boyhood delighting to answer his questions 
when he came upon the men in the depths of 
the woods in the winter season. 

All these things, and many a score of others, 
he was gathering always, consciously or uncon- 
sciously, as he roamed about in his holidays as 


a boy ; just as, when he came to be a little 
older, he learnt something of the outlook of 
those who lived their lives here, who worked 
here and had worked here always their idio- 
syncrasies, their characters that were so difficult 
to comprehend, the hardships that were an 
inseparable part of their existence, their daily 
round of toil in all weathers, the narrow margin 
that lay at all times between such labouring 
folk and want. 

Then again, while all here did not regard 
him from the same point of view such being 
an impossibility anywhere he learnt to give 
and take, to understand that all could not think 
alike, that because such an one was an awk- 
ward customer, or an idler worth no wage at 
all ; because this one had become soured by 
misfortune, or that one had strange ideas in 
his head there was no reason for him to give 
them the cold shoulder. There were men of 
all sorts here, as elsewhere, and women too ; 
and with many there was another side to the 
one they often showed, and which seemed to 
declare that to understand it all a lifetime 
would be required, if even the rudiments of 
this lesson could be learnt in that. 

There was only one way in which it could 
be attempted, and this was by walking the 


land, mixing with the fathers and the mothers, 
and growing up with the children of the same. 
Only by such means could the necessary know- 
ledge be imbibed, by which acts might be 
governed in the future that lay ahead ; only by 
acquiring these things, here and now, could 
just opinions be formed in later years, as if by 
instinct, when difficulties arose. 

There were secrets here that money could 
never buy, and that were so subtle in their 
character that even those who held the key to 
them rarely realised their value when they 
brought them out for use. They were a part 
of the life, as the air was the life of the fields. 
These things, hidden away in tradition, could 
not be defined or analysed ; but behind them 
for prize, to those who had studied and had 
come to know, there lay ahead again this the 
confidence, the trust, even, it may be, the love, 
that the people of the land know how to give, 
and always in a way that is their own. 

And if I, who write, know well that in the 
case of Ainslie Gore the conditions of his up- 
bringing were just these from the very first, it 
is also impossible to omit a reference to those 
other influences that were always at work in his 
home. He was destined to be an only child, 
and therefore to miss much, no less than to be 


open to much more. But he was blessed with 
wise parents, and of these it is necessary to say 
a word. 

His mother was of saintly character, but 
wholly free from those weaknesses that are 
sometimes found in such. Her religion was 
the chief fact in regard to her, and to be even 
a short time in her company was to feel this 
without doubt at all. Yet it was never in the 
forefront. You could see something of it in 
her beautiful face ; it was reflected in her actions 
and her daily life ; it came out in quiet moments ; 
and the poor, to whose homes she went in their 
hours of trouble, knew it well, and grew in 
many a case to lean on her. 

At the same time she was never anything 
but her natural self. She loved life for its 
opportunities : she was wise : she could enter 
into the interests of all about her : she had the 
keenest sense of fun ; she loved to see manli- 
ness in men, to hear of their doings, their work, 
their sports, their games ; but there ever shone 
out in her the characteristics that mark woman- 
liness at its purest and best, and thus her 
influence was very wide. I knew her well, 
from boyhood onwards, and I never failed to 
realise that there was no one, outside my own 
home, to whom I could go for opinion and 


advice with greater certainty of help than to 
her. She would listen, ask a few questions in 
a gentle, affectionate way, and then tell you 
what she felt. Her advice was not always 
palatable ; but in the end there was never any 
doubt about the wisdom of her conclusions. 
Behind her natural gentleness there was 
strength, and if you felt sometimes, in youthful 
days, that her reproof was hard the more so, 
perhaps, as it came from her it somehow 
spurred you to get back into her good graces, 
to see that smile on her face again, and to 
realise anew as you grew older that here was 
one who carried into her daily, busy life the 
reflection of the principles to which she clung 
who showed what capacity for loving might 
really mean in woman, and that made of Denton 
the home and the place that it was. 

The people of the parish naturally loved her 
deeply. She was their friend ; not as the lady 
bountiful there was nothing whatever of that 
about her, though there was no limit to her 
generosity. She understood them, and each 
one knew that they could come to her on all 
occasions and that she, of a certainty, would 

An old inhabitant described her once to me 
exactly : it was Susan Mantel, who kept a little 


sweet-shop, and also sold string and tallow 
candles. She knew the talk of the place to a 
nicety, and gathered many things, standing 
behind her tiny counter, in her black, frilled 
cap, red shawl, and blue cotton apron. 

"Ah," she said, "ther 5 be our Squire's 
good lady, now : she don't never pry. She do 
come in, an' sets down, an' just be one o' our 
sel', like, and no odds what caddie anyun be 
in. And I reckons as I seen it, like a-this 
and times, when trouble been a-gate the room 
wer' lit, like, when she come in, and darker a 
sight when she been gone ! " 

Rupert Gore, on the other hand, was typical 
of what a Squire might be. The eldest of three 
sons, he had succeeded his father at Denton 
when thirty-six years of age, and when he 
shortly afterwards married. By way of keeping 
touch with something of soldiering he joined 
the County yeomanry, taking with him to the 
ranks some half-dozen of his tenants or their 
sons. He was fond of horses, and was known 
as one of the best men to hounds in the Berkeley 
field. Love of sport was born in him. He 
was a first-class shot, and in his younger days 
was never happier than when out by himself on 
his wide, exposed lands along the banks of the 
great tidal river waiting, perhaps, knee-deep 


in flood water, for a flight of duck at cockshut ; 
following up the reens and tramping the marshy 
grounds for a chance at a snipe, or listening for 
the drumming of their wings ; trying to get 
the better of a flock of green plover, or watch- 
ing for the coming of the wild geese at the 
close of September. 

It was a flat, lonely country down there, 
with something almost weird about it where 
cattle, and now and then great flocks of 
sheep, gained subsistence, and across which 
fierce, angry winds swept in winter-time, 
coming up with the whole drift of the Bristol 
Channel behind them and laden heavily with 
snow. No weather was ever known to stop 
Rupert Gore : he was hard as a chip of oak, 
caring nothing for exposure, but rather revelling 
in it, and telling many stories of what he had 
heard and seen and felt, down there on those 
wind-swept grass grounds when most men 
were glad to be in shelter. 

Yet while he was all this, Rupert Gore was 
something far more. It was said of him after- 
wards that he never neglected a duty. On 
county business he was here, there, and every- 
where, passing from this matter to that, till 
some would say that he seemed almost to have 
the faculty of being in two places at once. He 


was by nature a hard worker, and he was an 
early riser. When even the smallest detail 
called for attention on his estate, he went and 
inquired, and saw for himself, either alone or in 
company with the agent or the steward. Then 
he formed his own opinion without hesitation, 
and acted on it. 

No doubt he made mistakes at times ; but 
his tenants always said that he " erred with 
honesty, and that there was no more doubt 
of his acting justly and honourably than there 
could ever be of his open-handedness." They 
one and all believed in him ; they liked him ; 
they knew that "he knew a thing or two"; 
and they were content, therefore, to leave the 
settlement of any difficulty or trifling dispute 
to him. They welcomed him on their farms, 
with that smile they knew well on his round, 
good-humoured face ready for a chat or a 
stroll across the fields with them ; taking as 
much interest in their crops as if they were his 
own, feeling a stroke of ill-luck no less keenly 
than themselves, and bearing their losses 
always in his mind. 

Then, too, they liked to see him out in the 
wind and the weather far off, perhaps, against 
the sky-line passing time of day with the 
men at plough, or on his way to pay the 


shepherd a visit, when the snow was on the 
ground and the man was often working night 
and day in lambing time. Such men, for their 
part, welcomed him no less heartily than their 
employers, knowing well enough that when 
times were hard he seldom went about empty- 
handed. The very dogs greeted him in the 
folds, just as the cottage women knew the wave 
of his hand as he went by and the sound of 
his cheery voice. The children racing out of 
school one and all smiled at him. He could 
address nearly all of them by name, and was 
in the habit of stopping and having a word or 
two with them when he met them in the lanes. 
This hard-bitten-looking man loved a child, so 
much so that it was commonly believed he 
would have given his life for one at any time ; 
and of course by that freemasonry that is a 
part of child nature, and also of some dumb 
animals, these children were no less aware 
of it unconsciously themselves, losing their 
shyness when in his company. 

" It be a sight o' pity as he haven't got a 
dozen of his own in place of one," remarked 
Lawrence Allen to me on one occasion : he 
held the Compass furlong, a small farm on 
which he was always ready to show you where 
a hare lay " alight o' pity, it be. But there," 


he added, his big, red face expanding into an 
even broader smile than usual "but there, I'll 
tell ye what. There be folks as says as it do 
take a lifetime to make a farmer. I knows as 
it doesn't! No lifetime'll do it. Bless the 
life on yer, it have got to be bred in him afore 
he starts. And if that be so, how long be it 
a-goin' to take to make a Squire ? Can yer 
tell me that ? O' course yer can't. Ther' he 
goes, over yonder, see, in his breeches and 
gaiters and his spud stick. An' there be folk 
as thinks as they can buy that ! They bain't 
so far out, may be, wi' the breechin' ; but all 
the gold on earth'll never find t'other, or 
replace un when er's gone ! " And he turned 
from the gate on which he had been leaning, 
without another word. 

The origin of my being so much at Denton 
and Ainslie with me in my home, especially 
in our early boyhood, may, I think, be un- 
doubtedly traced to the mutual wish of our 
elders. Our homes were but three miles apart, 
the two properties marching together for a 
considerable distance. We were born in the 
same year, and as I was brotherless and pos- 
sessed an only sister somewhat younger than 


myself, no doubt the parents on both sides 
very old friends as they were considered it 
advisable that their two boys should play and 
get about together. 

And there was certainly no mistake, as time 
went on, about the play and the getting about. 
The ideas governing the actions of our respec- 
tive parents appear to have been that, within 
reason, we were to be allowed as much latitude 
as possible, and by this means learn how to 
stand on our own feet and to walk on our own 
toes. They may have also had it in their 
minds that a special Providence habitually waits 
on all boyish escapades, enabling them to grow 
up, in spite of themselves, fairly complete in 
the matter of limbs and with both eyes. It is 
certainly well that they held such beliefs in 
our case. 

Looking back now, I feel that we must have 
stretched the patience of that good Providence 
to its utmost, as we certainly did that of those 
excellent souls who were set over us, and often, 
it must be owned, to breaking-point. We lived 
a life of adventure, more especially in the 
holidays after our first entry at a private school. 
Whether Ainslie was staying with me, or I 
with him, there were ponies to ride and fish to 
be caught, guns to become acquainted with, and 


games of all sorts to be played. And while, 
apparently, we were allowed to do just as we 
liked, and there were those always ready to 
teach us the rudiments of these various accom- 
plishments, from gamekeepers and coachmen, 
to butlers and those patient footmen who were 
had out to bowl to us in a blazing July sun, it 
is only quite in later years that I have become 
convinced that there was method in it all 
that these good people at our elbows must have 
all the while been receiving implicit directions 
as to the course they were to follow under 
certain circumstances. 

Otherwise, it does not at once become 
apparent why it was that when we had made 
our way to old Giles Merrett's house in the 
woods and asked for our guns, that he was 
on those occasions generally not to be found 
by his wife ; or if we caught him, that he had, 
by some unaccountable mischance, lost the key 
of the gun cupboard. In the search that 
followed, whether for Giles himself or for the 
key, we joined with ardour. But for some 
reason not at all strange then, that search 
proved generally quite fruitless, and we had to 
return from whence we came unarmed. Now 
I come to think of it, there were many episodes 
of the kind, though they were always quite 


natural to us then, if they were also attended 
with a passing disappointment that left us for 
the time a little glum. 

But even with the best will in the world, 
there was no safeguarding us at all points. 
It would be difficult to say which was the 
ringleader ; but I am inclined to think that 
Ainslie was, though at times the blame was 
certainly visited on me. There was no limit 
to our energy ; all days were long, though 
none too long for all we wished to do. The 
land all round, and for a considerable distance, 
belonged to our respective parents, and those 
living on either property were almost to a 
man our friends. 

And here again it was very remarkable 
how these friends came on the scene at moments 
when we were walking into jeopardy. I cannot 
conceive how this could have been otherwise 
than planned, and by the same heads andjiands 
as in the case of the guns, the ponies, and 
the rest. As we became a little older and 
reached twelve and thirteen, we naturally began 
to kick against outside interference and in ways 
that sometimes led to words with our good 
friends aforesaid. 

We had, I suppose, begun to feel our strength 
in more directions than one. We had lived 


an outdoor life and picked up many things, 
fancying we knew a lot ; we were growing 
fast and our muscles were beginning to harden ; 
and in Ainslie's case, Mrs. Jinks, the Denton 
housekeeper the personification of good- 
nature, with whom we often wrestled was 
not far wrong when she averred that he was 
"just a little Arab, and muscle all over, so 
that there was no holding of him." He was 
strong in all ways, and muscularly so especially. 
There were few trees he could not climb : 
he could jump a sheep hurdle easily, and, 
later on, clear many of the gates upon the 
place : he could run down village boys older 
than himself when he judged they were where 
they had no right to be, and tackle them ; 
and all games came to him easily. 

Then again, while such things added to 
his popularity, he was of singularly attractive 
appearance and manner, even as a small boy ; 
and Susan Mantel of the little shop would often 
remark "Ah; ther' be our young Squire, 
now. Look at un. Sunny, bain't he ? Why, 
hisn's face be his fortune ; anyun can see a-that 
anyun! " 

I think old Susan was right. Lissom, active, 
full of life and "go," built as straight as a line, 
with fair hair and laughing grey eyes, and 


declaring his breeding at all points, he was 
a boy that would take anyone's fancy in a 
moment, and win his way to their hearts no 
less quickly. 

It would, perhaps, be idle here to deal at 
any length with our boyish doings and hair- 
breadth escapes ; but one or two at least must 
be referred to, for they illustrate Ainslie's charac- 
ter. Water has always an attraction for boys, 
and it had long been our desire to get afloat 
on that innocent-looking Severn estuary here 
some two miles in breadth, and with all those 
sands far out as further attractions. The river 
had never been placed out of bounds if indeed 
we recognised the term at all and possibly 
because there were no boats down there of 
any kind, or so much even as a Severn punt 
with cocked-up stern and bows. Then, too, 
when the tide was out, a wide expanse of mud 
fringed the shore, and there was at those hours 
no getting to the water. 

We had often asked John Gratian, the land- 
lord of the Gore Arms, who, in his own ketch, 
the Mayflower, had navigated these very waters 
for years and knew more about them therefore 
than any other man in Denton parish we had 
often asked him about his past experiences, 
and had stood open-mouthed when he recounted 


for our benefit his wonderful escapes from being 
cast away on those treacherous Severn banks. 
We had even asked him once concerning the 
possibility of our going afloat ourselves, if boat 
could be found, when he answered us without 
more ado in this fashion 

" Now look ye here ; minds as you boys 
never thinks of doin' the likes. And minds 
for you to do that and for me to get wind on 
it, be for me to go straight up to Squire and 
tell un as the best thing as he can do, if it 
be his meanin' to let the likes of boys o' your 
age to go meddlin' wi' Severn, be for him 
to step down to parson and tell un to offer 
prayers for the two of you in church when 
Sunday comes, for nothin' else '11 save ye!" 

On that occasion we were certainly impressed ; 
and no doubt John meant us so to be. But 
chancing, some ten days later, to be down 
along the river banks, I remember we were 
as much startled to find a solitary boat lying 
there, as Crusoe must have been when he first 
detected the footsteps of the man Friday in 
the sands. The effect on us both was the 
same : we had never seen boat there before, 
and the sudden appearance of this craft filled 
us with a kind of fear. She was just a large- 
sized dinghy, recently tarred, had a white streak 



below the gunwale, and was fixed to the shore 
by a chain painter and a long rope. 

It was the time of spring tides and a bright 
and sunny day. Green ripples kissed the 
boat's sides ; there was not more than four 
inches of water beneath the keel at the stern ; 
and she was only just aground at the bows. 
Of course we were not long before we were 
inside that boat. We had approached with 
caution, doubting if anyone was on board, and 
finding no one, shortly began meddling with 
matters we had better have left alone. First, 
we separated the painter from the rope ; then 
we got her more afloat ; and after that the tide 
took charge. 

I can remember now with what rapidity the 
shores appeared to recede from us, and also 
the exclamations that escaped us when we 
found that the pair of oars the boat contained 
were securely padlocked to the after thwart. 
Ainslie was quite calm and began whistling a 
favourite tune, posing rather as captain of the 
craft, and expressing the opinion that very 
likely the current that had taken us out would 
work in a circle and take us back again. But 
the flat shore receded farther and farther from 
us, and it shortly became evident that we were 
outward bound. 


On realising this, the first thing that Ainslie 
ordered was for one of the bottom boards to 
be lifted. With this we tried to paddle, and at 
least to keep the boat's head pointing one way. 
Needless to say our efforts were quite fruitless, 
and we followed such course as the tide per- 
mitted, broadside on. As the stream took us 
farther, our pace naturally increased ; but now 
and again as we sped on we noticed that the 
water gradually grew deeper, though we knew 
enough to realise that the short ripple farther 
out meant shallows, and that these, the variable 
sands off Frampton Pill, were so-called quick- 

I do not think our situation troubled us in 
the least. Ainslie, for his part, appeared to be 
thoroughly enjoying it, and kept singing to 
himself as he looked down over the gunwale, 
or cast his eyes westward to where crowds 
of gulls were already settling on the point 
of Frampton sands. Far off beyond these, 
a ketch had dropped anchor in the variable 
channel running between them and the Noose, 
with other craft far beyond that and over to- 
wards Brims. We made amazing way when 
the currents carried us into the main channel 
itself, and we must certainly have come a good 
deal more than a mile and a half when all of 


a sudden the boat checked and swung round, 
as if some invisible hand had caught and was 
holding her. 

We had run on to a mud ledge, Ainslie's 
first remark being "Come on; let's bathe!" 
The mud bank was, for mud, sound enough ; 
but on reaching the smooth inviting sands 
themselves, he was very soon up to his knees. 
Bathe, however, he would, on gaining firmer 
ground, while I remained in the boat, that, by 
degrees, fell slowly over on her side. There 
was a mile of sand bare in no time, and the 
cry of many gulls came from far and near. 
The sun was sinking slowly into mist after a 
brilliant May day, but it of course never struck 
us that this very certainly meant fog. " The 
tide will turn, later on," remarked Ainslie 
" and take us back again ; it will be all right ! " 
He was full of confidence and was putting on 
his clothes, after finding a stretch of harder 
ground where he could run for half a mile and 
dry himself. 

Everything out here was on a large scale. 
There was space on these sands and on the 
wide, eddying waters the very voices of the 
gulls, far and near, declared it : there was space 
in the cloudless sky overhead that was now 
rapidly losing its blueness ; and there was 


space, again, on the long sweep of level shore 
over towards the Tumps and the great marshes 
below Denton. Only one item in it all was 
small, and small to minuteness our two selves, 
and our newly tarred dinghy lying on its 
side some hundreds of yards now from any 

Ainslie kept singing his favourite tunes. I 
never saw him happier. The sands were dry- 
ing, and we began amusing ourselves, after 
the inconsequent fashion of boys, in searching 
for things that the tide might possibly have 
left behind. The light of the sun was slowly 
waning ; and presently, on looking up, I re- 
member remarking to Ainslie that the shore 
had disappeared from view. 

" By Jove ; so it has," he said " it's only 
a fog, what larks ! Yes," he continued, a few 
moments later, when we were following our 
own footsteps back towards the boat "yes, I 
expect they'll have a job to find us ; but John 
will guess it, and he knows everything." 

At that moment, and a little later when it 
became dark, with the haze of fog overhead 
lit by the rising moon, we certainly found 
comfort in what we felt to be John Gratian's 
omniscience ; and as Ainslie now remarked 
if he had been often castaway and all the rest ; 


but he had never seemed to come to grief 
entirely." " Of course there'll be trouble over 
this," he added presently " and I am sorry. 
It can't be helped. It is all my fault, because, 
you see, you are staying with me." 

The logic might perhaps have been difficult 
for others to follow, but I understood his mean- 
ing, while I sat on the gunwale of the boat, 
feeling bitterly cold and wondering if we were 
to be there all night, or whether this last of 
many escapades meant drowning ere the morn- 
ing. The fog, shortly after that, shut down 
on us somewhat thicker, and a light air sprung 
up from the east. There was intense silence 
everywhere ; the gulls had gone to bed, and 
the water had receded far away. 

" Listen, and count," said Ainslie, suddenly. 
" Did you hear that ? Why, that's our church 
clock at home, striking ten." 

How long after that it was before help came 
neither of us knew, for we were both asleep 
when rough hands shook us into consciousness. 
Two figures with lanterns stood over us ; and 
one was swearing loudly, till stopped by John 
Gratian's voice, crying " Dry up, I tell yer ; 
bain't there been trouble enough over this job 
a'ready ? Bain't the good Squire's lady pretty 
well frightened into fits ; and the Squire hisself 


gone up and all over to make a search inland ? 
Bain't that enough, wi'out your a-temptin' th' 
Almighty with all your gaff? Well, then, dry 
up and leave the lads to me ! " 

What happened then I do not quite know. 
I learnt afterwards that the dinghy had be- 
longed to the ketch we had seen, and that the 
owner had come ashore to interview Gratian 
about coals. On returning to the banks he 
had found his boat gone, and being unable to 
see anything of her anywhere, had made his 
way back to the Gore Arms to acquaint honest 
John of the fact. It was not till later that 
news reached them of our disappearance, when 
John had put two and two together without 
more ado, and subsequently, by his close know- 
ledge of Severn tides and currents, had hit off 
our whereabouts exactly. 

But one matter in that night's adventure 
will always remain with me, and this has to 
do with what happened on our reaching land 
again. The fact that there were rarely any 
boats down there had thrown the Squire off 
the scent ; but he had stopped to ask news of 
Gratian when driving back through the village, 
and learnt from others where his friend had 

It was already past eleven o'clock when the 


Squire turned his horse to drive at once as far 
as wheels would take him, and from there to 
find his way on foot to the shore above the 
Tumps. He was standing there alone when 
we came ashore in the silvery fog and the 
glint of the moon on the rippling water. He 
never said anything, beyond " Come on, both 
of you, as quick as you can ; " Ainslie putting 
in, in penitent fashion " It was my fault, 
father; it was all my fault." 

Then there was silence. We had half a 
mile to tramp to reach the trap, and during the 
whole of the time the Squire never uttered a 
word. " If he had only spoken," said Ainslie 
to me, long afterwards, " it wouldn't have hurt 
so much ; " and I remember that I felt the 
same myself. It might have been unpleasant 
to receive the reprimand he, above all others, 
could administer when he felt wrong had been 
done, though with never a bad word inter- 
mixed. But in this case he was absolutely 
silent both then and afterwards and I am 
convinced of this, that this very silence on 
his part went deeper home in my case, and I 
believe in Ainslie's also, than any punishment 
we in after days received as schoolboys. 

I was driven home early the next morning 
by our intimate friend, William Welfare, the 


Gores' head coachman. He pulled a long face 
when I came out to the door, and then whis- 
pered as we started " Oh dear oh dear : 
got into a mess this time, then, eh ? And this 
note, look ye, have got to go with you, look. 
Dear dear ; well, there ; you an' Master 
Ainslie is just a pair, to be sure." 

For some time after that Ainslie and I did 
not see quite so much of one another. The 
Squire adopted the plan of taking Ainslie 
about himself wherever he went at Denton, and 
thus began the training that shall be referred 
to later on. It was, however, somewhat un- 
fortunate that during the very first week of 
their closer intercourse an event should have 
occurred nearly costing Ainslie his life. 

Some alterations were being carried out at 
the Gore Arms ; the parlour being enlarged 
and two bedrooms added above, much to John 
Gratian's satisfaction. Something had gone 
wrong at the top of the new gable, and the 
Squire turned to Ainslie and said " Here ; 
you can put that right. Run up that ladder, 
only take care what you are about." 

It was a good height up, and having attended 
to the point, Ainslie stepped back, calling 
"Is that right, father?" The next moment 
he was in the air. He had trodden on a false 


board at the top of the scaffolding, then in 
course of being taken down. There was no 
time even for an exclamation. Ainslie turned 
two complete somersaults, and just before 
reaching the flagstones of the yard, shot out 
one arm and caught a rope-end, dropping on 
to his feet and then falling backwards into 
Gratian's arms. 

" Well ! " exclaimed the honest John, who 
had turned crimson in the face " there's odds 
in boys, or I'm very much mistook! " 

The Squire remained fixed to the spot where 
he was standing, and was for the moment 
speechless. But he quickly recovered himself, 
and with the air of one so Ainslie said to 
whom some personal injury had been done, 
remarked " If you go on like this, my dear 
boy, you will run through all your lives before 
we can stop you : even a cat has only 


To which Ainslie, when he had recovered 
from his giddiness, replied " It was a funny 
thing, father ; but you and Gratian looked as 
if you were standing upside down ! " 

"I don't wonder at it, I'm sure," returned 
the Squire ; adding with a smile that looked 
half guilty, half shy " I think, on the whole, 
we had better say nothing about it to anyone : 


your mother might wonder where it was all 
going to stop." 

Personally, I fancy that Ainslie must have 
expended all his so-called lives before he reached 
sixteen, the loss of his ninth being the nearest 
total loss of all. I was not actually present 
on this occasion, and the story shall presently 
be told. 

We were about together again when the 
next summer holidays came round, having then 
left our first school for good, with Eton for 
both of us in the near future. At home and 
at school Ainslie had latterly been developing 
his taste for music, and, possibly owing to his 
being now left more alone than heretofore, his 
liking also for reading. He was often strum- 
ming on the piano when I rode my pony over 
to Denton, and occasionally, when he could not 
at first be found, he was eventually discovered 
curled in a big arm-chair and immersed in a 
book in the great library. 

When disturbed in this way he did not at once 
rouse himself, appearing as if his mind was still 
occupied by what he had been either reading or 
trying to play. The house was large, and he 
was often very solitary ; the lives of his parents 
being so full that weeks would sometimes go 
by without anyone coming to stay at Denton. 


Personally, I think that to this must be largely 
attributed much of the dreaminess there was 
afterwards about him, his intense reserve and 
love of solitude. He never lost any of his boyish 
gaiety and love of life indeed, he never lost 
a particle of these or of his geniality, his ready 
manner and large-heartedness, to the end of his 
days ; but gradually, and from this time on- 
wards, I realise now that a certain seriousness 
began slowly to declare itself in him, till it grew 
to be a definite part of his character. 

Such traits made no sort of difference to his 
natural liking for an outdoor life, its sports and 
games and touch with nature. He might lose 
himself in a book, or in reading through some 
new thing that his mother herself an excellent 
pianist had recently discovered. But in the 
next instant he would bang the lid of the piano 
or fling down his book, and be climbing the 
hill in the park or threading the rides of the 
woods, to see if he could find Giles Merrett or 
any of his under men. 

It was no doubt on one of these strolls by 
himself in the heart of the woods that he 
marked a wood-pigeon's nest in an elder bush. 
There had been an outcry against these birds, 
and as to reach the nest in this case was 
impossible, he quickly devised some other 


means of attack. At that time, I recall, we 
were spending, quite unknown to our elders, all 
our spare cash in pistols and gunpowder, casting 
our own bullets with lead we stripped from the 
house gutters on the roof. It was a July day 
when Ainslie ensconced himself beneath the 
shade of that elder bush, vowing that he would 
remain there till dark, and intent, as Merrett 
subsequently remarked when he heard the 
story " on blowing the old bird down, nest 
and eggs and all an' a very good job if he 
had, for them cushats be nothin' less than pests, 
they be, and eats a power of our pheasants' 
feed of a mornin', that 'em do." 

The day was a sultry one, and the watch 
was long. By way of passing time, Ainslie 
had begun playing with the pistol, when, as 
he afterwards described it to me, " the beastly 
thing suddenly went off, the bullet going 
straight through the brim of my hat in front 
of my forehead. I can tell you," he added, 
"that when I could see, I got up and left 
that pigeon's nest to itself, feeling cold all 
over. Of course what you say is quite true. 
They might have taken days to find the 
body ; and when they did they would have 
found it stark, with a pistol in its hand. 
Nice business! " 


" They would have brought it in as suicide 
for a certainty," I remarked. 

" Yes," he returned, with a loud laugh 

" A dozen men sat on his corpse, 

To find out how he died 
And they buried Ben in the four cross-roads 
With a stake in his inside." 

I think he said his father had latterly been 
reading Hood's poems to him, and that he had 
committed some of these to memory. 

The following month we left for Eton, at- 
tended by our respective fathers both old 
Etonians, who appeared to regard the occasion 
as one for much hilarity and many reminiscences. 

As for ourselves, we knew that an immense 
world was about to open before us and that of 
this we were to form a part, and I think we 
were immeasurably proud of the fact. Look- 
ing back now, we seem on that day to have 
passed one of those milestones in life that we 
all do from time to time, and that make us feel 
suddenly older. We were not yet quite four- 
teen, but we were already, in outlook, older by 
a year than we had been when we left our 
private school two months before. Childhood 
was left finally behind, and boyhood had come 
to occupy its place, with an increasing liking 
for wildly foolish boyish escapades of all kinds, 


though these now took on a different colour and 
were marked by different characteristics. 

There was at no time any sign on Ainslie's 
part of loss of the love of adventure, more 
especially where a spice of danger was discern- 
ible. Whether at school or at home he was 
always ready for anything, remaining quick 
and alert on all occasions, and throwing his 
whole heart into everything he found to do. 
But at the same time the dreaminess that I 
had latterly remarked in him seemed now to 
become more noticeable. He slowly developed 
a keen love of the beautiful : his liking for 
music, that was afterwards so much a part of 
him, became a passion ; he took more and 
more to reading whenever he could get the 
time ; and by degrees became in many ways 
an idealist, just as, later, he also grew to be, 
and remained always, something of a mystic. 
This development went on in him, I think, 
very slowly at first ; but the quiet and beauty 
of his home, as also, in some ways, his Eton 
life, served now to accentuate it. 

He was already a boy of exceptional ability. 
His school work had from the first come easily 
to him ; and on entering Eton, he was placed 
as high as was then possible taking, as we 
say, Remove. At the outset, the throb of the 


new life here puzzled him : there was so much 
to do ; so little time to do it in. The very 
rush of the day's work an hour here, another 
there, with the games, the cooking one's own 
tea and breakfast, all the quaint observances, 
sandwiched in between ; the fagging and the 
strange phraseology of the place ; the rule of 
boy over boy ; the incessant call to be up and 
doing something all day long, in this place of 
beautiful buildings set amidst still more beauti- 
ful surroundings all this, no doubt, bewildered 
him, as it had done countless others, and at 
first he liked to get away alone along the banks 
of the river in the Playing Fields, where they 
were deserted at this football season of the 

The phase with him did not last long. A 
wise enactment allowed a new boy to wander 
much as he liked for the first fortnight, that 
he might find his way about ere the fagging 
and the rest began. But many days before 
this short period had expired, Ainslie had 
already been caught by the countless eddies of 
this great stream of young life, and carried 
bodily out into its midst. More than that : he 
quickly discerned the meaning of what he saw 
around him, and threw his whole heart and 
soul into the affairs of every day. 


The whole atmosphere and surroundings of 
this wonderful place appealed to him ; and 
Eton, exercising her countless fascinations, 
took him by the hand and made of him one 
of her true sons. He knew it, and often after- 
wards referred to it. The stream would flow 
on, at ever-increasing pace there would come 
the banks and the shallows and the shifting 
sands ; but here was good outfit to be had for 
each one's craft. And more there reigned 
also a great spirit in this place, and to all who 
came it was bequeathed, that they might, so 
choosing, carry it with them out into the wide 
estuary and the full flood, for their voyage on 
a limitless sea. 




WE were resting on Sheep's Bridge when he 
said it one summer Sunday evening, when 
the life of the greatest of Schools was in full 
swing and the summer half at its zenith. 
Sunday necessarily always brought a pause in 
those activities of the week that seemed to us 
then to be nothing less than the contests of 
giants, fit to move whole worlds. To some 
minds possibly they appear so still ; but how- 
ever this may be, Sunday afforded an interval 
for thought, if also for much gossip as to 
who, for instance, would get his colours for 
Lord's, who fill the last remaining thwart in 
the Eight for Henley; what House had the 
best chance of winning the House Cup or the 
House Fours, and who were the likeliest to 
carry off the Sculling or the Pulling and the 
rest of the many great events. 

These were the things that really mattered 
to the majority in that busy world ; and if 
training and practice were suspended one day 



in seven, it was only fitting, in the leisure 
hours thus afforded, that such matters should 
be discussed and estimates revised. On the 
morrow the contests would reopen and the 
play of energies be renewed the whole wide 
stream of life, with its chances and infinite 
possibilities, being laid out and burnished 
anew : for the moment, all the boats of many 
forms were locked in the Brocas sheds, and a 
hushed stillness reigned in our historic Playing 

We had been discussing many such things 
as we strolled, and were at the moment lean- 
ing over the old, worn stone-coping of the 
bridge, watching the clear brown water from 
Fellows' Pond as it trickled over the stone 
ledge below and found its way in many 
rivulets to the wide and silent river in the 
fuller light beyond the trees. Trees, indeed, 
stood on all hands. Huge elms met high 
above our heads : away to the left, three 
broad avenues separated Upper from Middle 
Club, and in the opposite direction, some 
dozen giants, two or more centuries in age, 
brought the pageant to an end standing as 
great sentinels on the margin of Aquatics and 
Upper Sixpenny, or over against the famous 
Wall, casting now their faint shadows on the 


soft, short turf as the long summer day drew 
slowly to a close. 

" Yes," he said " I have quite made up my 
mind to be a soldier. The Army is the place. 
There is nothing like it, as you say nothing ! 
Perhaps the love of it is born in us. We have 
been soldiers for generations, just like your 
people. My father was a soldier, you know, 
and so was my grandfather the one fought in 
the Crimea and the other in the Peninsula. 
But it goes back much further than that, for 
among the portraits at home there are many 
more, especially one of a fair-haired fellow who 
looks not much older than us, and who fell at 
Newbury, fighting for the King. It must have 
been painted, they say, very shortly before his 
death. He is attractive enough in his gay 
clothes, I can tell you ; with his fair locks on 
his shoulders and his dark eyes full of fun. 
But of course you know the picture I forgot. 
Doesn't his face take you ? It does me. And 
I often stop and look at it, and feel that I envy 
him awfully. Shouldn't I just about have 
liked to have lived then ! " 

His voice, even at that date, was singularly 
musical and of low tone, and as he dilated in 
boyish fashion and we discussed the course in 
life we would mutually take, it seemed to grow 


in richness, the tinkle of the stream below 
filling in the pause between the sentences. 
He was habitually possessed, as I have said, 
of a certain seriousness even in his boyhood, 
though the real depth of this was seldom 
shown, save to his intimates. Thus it was 
that the majority never suspected any trait of 
the kind. He might be all that some said he 
was reserved, modest, retiring, thoughtful ; 
but he hid such things successfully away, and 
what those about him saw was one possessed 
of intense joyousness of life who was vigour 
personified, and who regarded all things from 
a sunny outlook. 

The bells in Lupton's Tower had chimed 
the hour and then struck eight on one of 
deeper tone ere we moved away that evening 
from the bridge the ancient brick walls ahead 
of us glowing blood-red in the level rays of the 
sun, the golden light scintillating in the lat- 
tice of many a window. Silence had already 
settled on those Playing Fields of wondrous 
beauty by the time we turned into the cool 
cloisters and emerged into School Yard, our 
conversation still running on the same theme 
this line we were to take in life, this pledge 
that we had given each other to follow the 


calling of our respective forbears, lead where 
it might. 

The weighty decision we had come to ap- 
peared in some mysterious way to have sud- 
denly deepened our outlook on life : the world 
for us had altered from that moment. We 
were to be together, right through to serve 
the greatest of Queens living up in the Castle 
that dominated the whole peaceful valley, 
and if need be lay down our lives for her and 
for the Country. It was all very romantic ; 
but all, to us, in our boyish fancies, very real. 

At this time he and I were just sixteen, an 
age when scales are apt to fall from boyish 
eyes and foothold to be looked for with increas- 
ing earnestness. The future occasionally pre- 
sents itself at such an hour with startling 
suddenness, as something to be reckoned with 
and definitely faced. It had done so now 
with us. Previous to this its claims had been 
few, and there was something wholly intangible 
about it : it lay outside our province altogether, 
and need not concern us seriously in any way. 
But now, many roads had begun to show them- 
selves, leading away into the distance, and from 
these came the sound of many voices calling 
always " Come along ! " 

In the babel of sound it is not easy to decide 


which of all these voices is to be listened to. 
Fear moreover has its place. Up to this, cer- 
tainties had been the lot of nearly the whole 
company : out there, uncertainty had now be- 
come apparent. And from the distance had 
come also this strange call ringing in the ears 
the call of the world as the call of the wild ; 
this appeal to the instincts ; this claim upon 
the next batch of young lives that shall fight 
and struggle, and love and pray, carrying on 
the work of the world till the next call comes 
and a long sleep closes wistful eyes. Uncon- 
sciously the great appeal continues always to 
exert its influence ; consciously it accepts neither 
hesitation nor denial ; and thus it comes about 
that the children of men obey the summons, 
and step out into life as soldiers in the army 
of God. 

From that day forward our decision was 
never altogether absent from our minds. Not 
that we often spoke of it or put our thoughts 
into words, but we certainly set our course with 
the aims we had in view. I remember, for 
instance, that we agreed together never, either 
at school or in the holidays, to shun exposure 
to weather, but rather to invite it, wet or shine, 
night or day. So also with bodily exertion 
the harder the work, the more readily we were 


to engage in it. If any of those about us 
appeared to hang back we were to spring 
forward without hesitation, and the more risky 
the job the better. What we had to do was to 
make ourselves physically fit by every means 
in our power, and at the same time learn how 
to take the lead. And over and above this, we 
were to try to acquire the habit of bearing pain 
without flinching, to cultivate the spirit of en- 
durance, to be chivalrous on all occasions, to 
show least what we felt most. The day would 
come when a claim would be made on us ; we 
must get into training therefore and be pre- 

Thus, while we laid down for ourselves a 
rule of life, and our boyish fancies continued to 
conjure up a multitude of things that came 
more and more to be stern realities to us, a 
number of ideals were also always before our 
minds. And especially was this so in Ainslie's 
case. All through his life it was only necessary 
for him to espouse a cause, for that cause to 
become idealised. He would weave about it 
all manner of fancies, and clothe it in garments 
of colours unknown to human eyes ; and when, 
in his imagination, it had become transfigured 
often to a degree that he never appeared to 
realise he, metaphorically speaking, set this 


idol of his creation on a pedestal and gave 
himself to it heart and soul. 

It was the same with him in more serious 
matters. His faith, his standard of morals 
of cleanness, truth and honesty his idea of 
what a man should be at all points and in all 
ways, his sense of duty of what was right and, 
above all, what was just ; all these were to him 
the essentials of existence. In defence of them 
he must be prepared to fight and to give his all, 
if called upon so to do ; and in each case the 
level of his keen desires stood far higher than 
that which human fallibility makes ordinarily 

Nor was it by any means different in the cur- 
rent of his school life. No matter whether it 
was an eleven in which he had won a place, 
a society to which he had been elected, the 
House whereat he boarded, this School of which 
he was a member these were all alike either 
the best, or to become the best so far as he 
could help in his small way to make them. 
They were first and before all his, and they 
invariably stood in his mind as so many symbols. 

Thus behind the elevens to which he be- 
longed or those contests in which he con- 
tinually took part, he had visions of fights of 
sterner .kind that would some day come for 


him in other fields ; and this great School that 
he so passionately loved, never failed to present 
to his mind the counterpart of that life in the 
wider world that would shortly open for him 
and for each and all in this great company. 

The past history of the place was to him 
therefore an inspiration and was constantly in 
his mind. He re-peopled it with the great of 
bygone times, conjuring up anew the forms 
of leaders in the field, statesmen and divines 
of poets, writers and musicians, no less than 
that host of humbler men, " the unknown 
great," as he habitually called them, who had 
trod these very flagstones, whose voices had 
echoed here, and who had then gone out and 
tried to make some corner of the world a 
better, happier place, so long as life were 
granted them. 

The very beauty of its setting appealed to 
him to an almost measureless extent ; and its 
spirit the spirit of Eton however undefin- 
able, was to him a priceless heritage, to be 
fostered and safeguarded by each and all ; not 
as a matter of mere sentiment, but as some- 
thing rarely found elsewhere, and that was 
limitless for good the world over. He could 
not shut his eyes to the darker faults he saw 
about him. But if such were part of an in- 


explicable whole, he never failed to try to 
stamp them out wherever met with. To him 
good and evil necessarily had place here as in 
the world outside. But with the intensity of 
faith that was his, he never ceased to believe 
that purity would declare herself as the hand- 
maid of the one, and that beauty was there to 
redeem and to clothe the other anew. Thus 
of the ultimate triumph of good he never 
entertained a doubt. 

" My dear fellow," he would say, with that 
sunny smile of his his eyes growing darker 
as he spoke " don't you see that good is 
bound to win because it is so infinitely the 
more powerful of the two ? To doubt that, 
for an instant, seems to me to try to make out 
that Almighty God is less powerful than the 
Author of all Evil. There are plenty of 
things outside to shame us, and there are 
plenty here to show that we are no better than 
others and have no right to pretend to be so. 
But no one is going to make me doubt that 
the influences we have about us in this place 
are not going to assert themselves and make 
for a wider, purer regeneration. I tell you it 
is impossible ! There are black sheep among 
us, of course. It could not be otherwise with 
a thousand of us packed together here. But 


just think how much blacker the blackest 
would in all likelihood have been if he had 
never been here at all ! " 

The ultimate victory of any cause he had at 
heart seemed sometimes to mean everything 
to him ; but in the athletic contests of the day, 
victory the mere fact of winning did not 
appear ever to appeal to him in the way that 
it did to most. If success in a great annual 
match meant further honour for his School, or 
securing a challenge cup meant the same for 
his already famous House, it stood to reason 
that they must be won. But I think, as a 
rule, he derived his chief pleasure from the 
actual contest rather than from the, possibly, 
victorious outcome. He trained his House 
elevens for success, and to the very utmost 
of his power ; but he also taught them first 
to play the game, and to accept defeat with 
dignity. " Play for your side," he would say 
" don't play for yourself that's poor form ; 
and if we are beaten, take the licking with a 
good grace, and say nothing." 

He always carried into every contest, no 
matter what it was, a firm belief in his own 
side. That he was often beaten, goes without 
saying. But when his idol on such occasions 
necessarily came tumbling to the ground with 


a run and he reaped the fruits of all idealists, 
he might look grave, or even break into a 
laugh ; but he at once set his idol up again on 
a firmer and higher pedestal, and marched on, 
head up as before. 

At the date when he and I, on that summer 
Sunday evening, laid down the course we 
would mutually take in life, we were entering 
upon the period when athletic honours in school 
life are reaped to the full if reaped at all. In 
his first summer half he had chosen the river 
and showed signs of becoming a wet-bob ; but 
unlike many another boy who, once on the 
river, is content to drift along with the stream 
and often in aimless fashion, he altered his 
course before the half had run out. 

The river had appealed to him in the first 
instance by its beauty its whispering willows, 
its nodding rushes that the circling eddies 
played with all day long, the wealth of flowers 
along the banks, with the great, historic Castle 
in the sunlight backing in the whole. This 
river, with its clear depths and its placid stream 
that never varied very greatly throughout the 
heart of the year, differed altogether from 
the river of his home. He had never seen 


anything like it before. Here there was the 
beauty of a pretty face. Away in the west, 
the river was stern and sombre of aspect, with 
a strength underlying it that took no denial 
and that punished tricks, that linked hands 
directly with the mighty tides, and spoke in 
deep notes with the voice of a man. 

The pretty face had conquered Ainslie at 
the outset ; but it failed to hold him, however 
great its charms might be to a nature such as 
his. At first he was enthusiastic. " The river," 
he would exclaim " the river is splendid ! 
They say it's the cradle here of the finest 
oarsmen in England, you know, and therefore 
in the world. Just think of that ! " 

Then slowly there came a change, and at 
the same time an inner appeal for a wider field 
for his energies. Paddling up and down this 
stream, with no prospect of a place in the 
Boats for a year or two, failed to satisfy him. 
Contemplation, when tucked in under the pol- 
lards while the hours ran by, or lying in 
the sun beneath a hedge of willow herb and 
purple loosestrife six feet high, had much that 
was congenial to him, just as the beauty of 
this pretty face made mute appeal to his heart. 
But there was the other side in him that claimed 
no less a hearing, and that was destined to 


speak out more strongly with the coming of 
the years, when the man of action should have 
sprung to life. 

In his home he had always been an enthusi- 
astic cricketer, taking his part with the village 
team in many a funny match, in which the 
originality of some of the members' favourite 
strokes was only surpassed by the witticisms 
and general hilarity of the company. He ar- 
rived in my room one day during the latter 
part of our first summer half with a new ball in 
his hand, and asked me to come with him to 
Sixpenny. Then he habitually went to Upper 
Club to watch the great School matches, taking 
note of everything he saw, his whole being 
rising to a pitch of enthusiasm at the skill of 
a bowler, a dash in of cover-point and a pretty 
piece of fielding, a hit that took the ball clear 
out of the ground. 

There was beauty, even greater beauty, here 
in these great round-topped trees, with their 
purple shadows and broad spaces of reflected 
sunlight, the level turf, the old red walls and 
the sound of the bells. It was different alto- 
gether from what that other had afforded and 
that was still visible with silvery gleam beneath 
the trees, and it told him a different story. 
The pretty face had had to make way for 


something more stately and of deeper import. 
There was more of continual vigour here : the 
whole air was filled with the sound of bat and 
ball, shrill cries and boyish voices, and was 
redolent of life and utmost joy of living. And 
thus by slow degrees, other arms wound their 
way about him, and this other, statelier beauty 
led him by the hand. The Brocas saw him 
no more, and at the same time a new bowler 
was discovered in Sixpenny. 

He never forsook his first love altogether. 
He always took part in his Form's sweepstakes, 
and certainly on one occasion won them in 
company with another. He even in later years 
raised a dry-bob Four in his House to compete 
in the bumping races, and as he said "just 
for the sport of the thing." " No idea of 
getting to the top of the river need trouble 
us," he added. " The fun will be to row against 
these wet-bobs, even though we get a good 
ducking, probably have to stand some chaff, 
and no doubt come in a good last. Anyway, 
we must have a try, and the river is always 
lovely ! " 

It was never his way to do things by halves, 
and he threw himself more and more into 
cricket throughout his Eton life, winning in 
the end those colours that were, to many here s 


more than any title, rank or decoration in the 
world. And after his manner he also built up 
in his own mind all kinds of mystical ideas 
about this greatest of games, till it became in 
a way one of his standards. Cricket, to him, 
stood for a claim for straightness of conduct on 
all occasions, just as a straight bat was of its 
essence. " A fellow has got to abide by the 
rules/' he would say, "stand his ground and 
defend his own wicket ; and what is more, he 
has also to abide by his sentence from the 
other end, whatever it be, just in the same way 
that he has by his own actions in a wider field 
if he makes a fool of himself, or by his word 
if he has once said dixi!" And then again, 
over and above all this, he always believed that 
cricket had played no mean part in making a 
Nation, and here the history of this game was 
to him nothing less than a romance. 

It is not my intention to set out in this place 
his doings either as a field, a bat or a bowler. 
He had his successes in playing for his School, 
at Lord's and Winchester and elsewhere ; but 
such things are written in other books, and do 
not loom so large now for us in these later 
days. One thing, however, in connection with 
his getting his colours shall be mentioned, 
because it shows how his actions sometimes 



caused him to be misunderstood by those who 
did not know him well. 

To be given your colours for the Eleven, or, 
as the custom was in those days, to be told 
"you might get your colours," was to run 
down town and to appear in them an hour 
later, no less than to order " flannels " at your 
tailor's to be put in hand at once. But Ainslie 
never did anything quite like ordinary people, 
the result being that he was still wearing his 
twenty-two colours the next day, and his tailor 
had come to the conclusion that he had lost his 

To be guilty of action of the kind in such a 
company as this was to run the risk of hostile 
criticism, and some were not behindhand in 
putting Ainslie's remissness down to swagger, 
further uncomplimentary remarks being added 
at the same time. He was, of course, wholly 
innocent of all the things attributed to him, 
and when several of his friends pointed out 
that his forgetfulness might be taken as an 
insult, he ran at once to the Captain's House 
and apologised to him profusely. 

The matter was, I know, a genuine distress 
to him, though what he had done, or forgotten 
to do, exactly reflected his character. To his 
mind, had he given the point any thought 


whatever, haste to appear in new colours, even 
if these were the first in the School, would not 
have appealed in any way : he had won his 
place in the Eleven, and would appear as he 
should in the next match a few days hence : 
that, to his thinking, was quite sufficient. It 
was always the same with him. When he had 
done anything and earned the plaudits of his 
fellows, his first desire was to escape from 
notice as quickly as he could. To pose, or to 
play to the gallery, would have been an im- 
possibility with him : he was at all points essen- 
tially a gentleman, and would consequently have 
dubbed such doings as so much snobbishness. 

In the half succeeding that in which he be- 
came a member of the Eleven, he won his 
colours for the Field and the Oppidan Wall. 
Football, especially the Field game, suited him 
even better than cricket : he loved the actual 
combat, the fever of the fight, and the test of 
physical strength. No prettier game was ever 
devised for boys than Eton football. It is 
very quick and calls for agility of foot, great 
activity, plenty of dash and pluck, together 
with full command of temper and rapid decision 
at every moment. Ainslie excelled in it for 
many reasons, and being a first-rate runner his 
place was generally corner. 


Character declares itself in all games, and 
Ainslie's came out here. His play was at all 
times without trace of jealousy, and showed 
how fully aware he was that individual promi- 
nence and success were of less value to a side 
than unselfish combination. Whether in the 
Field, or in House games in South Meadow 
where he trained us carefully as Captain he 
threw himself heart and soul into the crisis of 
the moment, and I can hear his ringing voice 
still, and see his tall, lissom figure capless, 
breathless and mud-bespattered often leading 
us to victory when defeat seemed perilously 

But there was another direction in which at 
this time he also began to make his mark. 
His successes in the field of athletics had 
necessarily led to his being elected to Pop 
the august assembly that has for generations 
represented in its select and limited company 
the elite and most distinguished in the School. 
He was ever independent in his opinions and 
actions, and if this led, as has been shown, to 
his being sometimes misunderstood outside, 
and often through his own fault, it was no less 
so within the doors of the Eton Society. There 
was a certain quiet detachment about him that 
provoked criticism in other natures. He did 


not hesitate to say what he meant on all occa- 
sions not in any spirit of wrong-headedness, 
much less of bumptiousness, but because he 
had formed those opinions to the best of his 
ability and was resolved to stand by them. At 
all times he had the strongest sense of justice, 
and in the event of a course taken by another 
being obviously wrong he spoke out totally 
regardless of the cost, and no matter who his 
opponent might be. It was always the same 
with him, even in his younger days, and I re- 
member two small incidents of the kind occur- 
ring when he had been at the School no more 
than a year. 

As a Lower Boy he had stood at the head 
of Remove, his name being the second to be 
called at Absence. It was thus necessary for 
him to be extremely punctual. On arriving in 
School Yard one day he found his name had 
been passed, and that the Lower Master w r as 
already some dozen down the list. At the 
second calling over came the question, before 
the inevitable pcena " Why were you not 
here?" "Because you began calling before 
the time, Sir." " Impertinence ! " exclaimed 
the Master, warmly. " I beg your pardon, 
Sir ; the clock had not struck when you 
began," returned Ainslie again, looking up with 


that irresistible smile of his as a boy. The 
statement was so absolutely honest that the 
Master was defeated " You may go," he said, 
with scant grace. 

The other incident had to do with our dear 
old Tutor. Ainslie was never an adept at 
Latin prose writing ; he never mastered the 
knack of it, and as it was a test subject in all 
examinations, it was necessary that he should 
pay especial attention to it. I forget now what 
the point was ; but our Tutor became quite 
cross with him at what he called his "extra- 
ordinary denseness." Ainslie, who had been 
resting his forehead on the palm of one hand, 
with the fingers in his hair, looked up and 
asked " Why are you cross with me, Sir ? I 
can assure you I am trying my very best." 

Our Tutor recalled the incident in conversa- 
tion with me many years afterwards, and added 
" I learnt a lesson then that I never forgot. 
The boy's face was enough, without his words. 
I felt ashamed of myself. But there was 
always something remarkable about Gore, and 
towards the close of that wonderfully successful 
career of his at the School, it often seemed to 
me that a mysterious influence for good flowed 
from his every act." 

Though the Eton Society, better known as 


Pop, is in a way a club, it is primarily a 
debating society, at least two Prime Ministers 
having made their first flights in oratory there 
as boys, and many a score of distinguished 
names appearing on the records of its pro- 
ceedings. To become a member is to inherit 
no ordinary traditions ; and since Pop is also 
a kind of court of reference and holds cer- 
tain disciplinary powers, these elected few have 
a very definite position in the School. 

The tone and atmosphere of its rooms 
naturally varied according to our leaders at 
the moment. Members came and went in 
quick succession, as this great stream of young 
life launched its members out into the breezy 
tide-way. Eton is always marked by a ready 
wit, and a no less ready power of repartee. 
There was plenty of such in Pop, and if, out- 
side, its members walked with dignity more or 
less assumed, these historic little rooms were 
often the scene of uproarious mirth, together 
with much banter, when boyish spirits asserted 
themselves and a staid decorum was judged to 
be no longer supportable. 

But while such conditions undoubtedly ruled 
from time to time, and even Pop bowed to the 
powers that were and followed the reigning 
spirits of the day, debates were nevertheless 


often conducted with due formality, the manners 
and customs of another place being followed 
somewhat closely. To look through the 
volumes of its proceedings now, especially 
where great names figure the speeches being 
recorded in the handwriting of the speakers 
is to be struck by the level often reached 
in these debates of bygone days. The 
opinions that some held then may be the 
very opposite of those advanced in public 
now ; but the ability exhibited in their pre- 
sentment does not differ as greatly as many 
might suppose. 

The members were by no means only 
athletes ; there were also scholars and students 
of many subjects, whose hearts were far from 
games. Apart from the wit, the fun and the 
merry laughter that marked so many of our 
days, dialectics formed the common atmos- 
phere of these rooms, considerable heat being 
often engendered when the members took 
sides and the current topics of the day were 
discussed. In the case of formal debates, 
speeches were often prepared with great care, 
and delivered to an attentive audience. Apt 
quotations, especially from the classics, were re- 
ceived with a smile of approval ; and if cheers 
greeted the close of a popular speaker's perora- 


tion, opinions at variance with the accepted 
traditions of the School always raised a storm 
of interruption. 

No doubt our proceedings were often marked 
by boyish exuberance of spirits, no less than 
by that cocksureness that was a part of all of 
us when in our 'teens. It would have been 
strange had this not been so. Youth, with 
gay heart, always knows better than the man ; 
and the middle-aged may be dismissed, by way 
of compliment, as " has beens," or even some- 
thing still less graceful. That no doubt, for all 
reasons, is as it should be. At the same time, 
looking back now, I am unable to recall any 
of that disagreeable form of cocksureness in 
Ainslie Gore that we have all known. His 
opinions were never lightly surrendered. It 
used indeed to be said of him at this time that 
if he once got an idea in his head, he would 
stick to it, right or wrong. That was going 
much too far. He was difficult to move and 
could not be driven ; but he was at all times 
open to conviction, and there was never any 
trace of bumptiousness in the way he advanced 
his theories or drove home his points. I often 
used to think that he regarded a debate or an 
argument much as he did a game, and that he 
carried it on for its own sake, though always 


deprecating descent into mere contentious talk : 
of that he had a horror. 

Occasions of course arose here when the 
questions before us were taken very seriously 
comically so considering we were all boys. 
Nothing moved us more than any attack upon 
our existing institutions. We were for the 
most part strong Tories and staunch upholders 
of things as they were. And it was just here 
that Ainslie sometimes came into conflict with 
the majority. He was a reformer, and was 
therefore a firebrand to some, and he had 
little respect for anything that, to his think- 
ing, had had its day and was obsolete. 

No one ever loved this great School more 
than he ; no one respected its past history 
more deeply ; no boy in the place would have 
fought more valiantly in defence of a custom 
where he felt that it was really beneficial ; and 
no one, assuredly, realised more fully that hands 
were not to be lightly laid on this place of 
countless memories. But where, in this re- 
public of boys, he fancied he discerned what 
was undesirable no longer suited to the day 
that had come, or in conformity with the 
world outside then he sprang forward and 
spoke his mind, though the whole School 
should be against him. 


Such characteristics were naturally more 
noticeable in Pop than elsewhere, and it was 
here that he had to do battle in support of 
his ideals. When he felt anything keenly he 
habitually spoke with much vehemence and 
made use of many gestures ; but when 
especially in the earlier days of his member- 
ship he was received with marked opposition 
and the ordinary courtesies of debate were 
thrown to the winds, he never lost control of 
himself or showed the slightest signs of temper 
in the retorts he made. Nor was there ever 
anything overbearing in his manner. That 
the opinions he was advancing might leave 
him in the minority of one when put to the 
vote, did not concern him. He was not going 
to give way when he felt he was right, unless 
a better man than he was there to convince 
him that he was wrong. Then, he was open to 
conviction and gave way with excellent grace. 
With him tenacity of purpose was a thing to 
be cultivated ; but such should never be carried 
to the point where due reverence for the 
opinions of others was excluded. And he 
certainly grew to feel this more and more 
in subsequent years, when the atmosphere of 
radiant confidence was exchanged for a sterner 


reality, and impulsive adolescence was checked 
at the touch of the world. 

Opposition, then, he occasionally met with 
here ; but many will agree that the unfailing 
good-humour and charm of manner with which 
he habitually faced that opposition, won the 
ever-increasing respect of those from whom he 
differed most, and the affection of many who 
could not altogether agree with him. I shall 
never forget one occasion when he rose to 
wind up a debate on a question to do with the 
better maintenance of discipline in Houses as 
carried out by the boys themselves, and the 
changes that were desirable in furtherance of 
the same. He won some round to his point 
of view before he had done, and the debate 
was adjourned instead of being brought to a 

The room had been in an uproar ; and when, 
in the course of his remarks, he had made 
reflections upon the want of tone in certain 
quarters, every member appeared to be inter- 
rupting him at once. He remained standing, 
with a grave, thoughtful look on his face, wait- 
ing patiently for silence to be restored. 

" I am sorry," he said, at last, in a voice 
that seemed to have fallen to an even lower 
tone than usual " I am sorry if the reforms 


I am myself anxious to see carried out do not 
commend themselves to many of you. Yet 
I do not believe that any member here present, 
and however deeply he may be opposed to 
me, will question my motives or doubt the 
deep love I have for all our institutions. These 
last belong to a past that we revere. For the 
time they are in our keeping. They reflect 
the deeds and opinions of others who were in 
all likelihood better men than ourselves. But 
conditions have changed and there is a demand 
for something different, as there must always 
be. Are we going to stultify ourselves by 
making no move where we see that reform is 
needed and, as I believe, urgently needed? 
Are we going to confess our own impotence 
by failing to rise to a call that some at least 
here believe to be a very real one ? If so, 
how may we hope to reconcile our want of 
initiative with the actions of those of whom I 
have just spoken and who worked to make 
this place what it has ultimately become. 
Many of you may think of the individual rights 
pertaining to your several high positions in the 
School ; but I trust you will pardon the 
temerity of one of the younger members of 
this assembly, if I ask you whether you are 
going to think of your rights and forget your 


duties ? I tell you, Gentlemen, that nothing 
stands firm that stands on rights alone no- 
thing can ever so stand ! Our several Houses 
are but part of a greater whole. If the tone 
of any of them falls from what it should be, is 
there anyone here prepared to deny that the 
School itself can hope to escape infection ? 
Once again, I tell you that that cannot be so, 
and that we ourselves shall have to bear the 
blame ! " 

" We may not agree with all Gore says," 
remarked one of a group of boys, strolling out 
of the yard into the roadway, with their hands 
in their pockets ; " but from fighting him, one 
somehow or other gets to love him, and his 
opinions don't seem to matter a bit." 

" I know exactly what you mean," agreed 
another. " I expect he'll be Prime Minister 
one day, won't he ? " 

" Bless your life, no ! " interjected a third 
" don't you know he's going for a soldier ? 
He is always dreaming of it, I tell you." 

"Ainslie ? Food for powder ? Save us!" 

The very idea seemed to take the last 
speaker quite aback. 

During his last year and a half at the School 


he gradually rose to a position that can have 
been reached by few. He had a hand in 
everything, from cricket and football and fives, 
to the Volunteers in which he rose to be a 
sergeant, and the Beagles of which he was a 
whip and at one time acted as Master during 
the latter's illness. He was known to all. The 
small boys looked at him with awe : those a 
little older were flattered when he noticed them : 
his contemporaries were proud to be included 
in the circle of his friends. Not that he was 
the least exclusive. Among his friends and 
acquaintances boys were to be found of per- 
fectly different natures and every standard of 
ability. The very diversity of his tastes com- 
pelled him to be cosmopolitan in such direc- 
tions. He was large-hearted and unwittingly 
attracted others to himself, and thus he was 
able to find what he wanted in each in turn, 
being amused by some and gathering sympathy 
from others. 

He could, at this time, meet many of those 
with whom he was thrown on their own ground, 
no matter what their interests and pursuits 
might be. He became one of the greatest 
athletes in the School ; but he was an athlete 
in spite of himself. He could play all games 
just a little better than the majority. He ran 


so well that he won the School Mile and the 
Steeplechase, and he habitually threw such 
vigour into all he did that it was not pleasant, 
for instance, to oppose him in a run down at 
football. He would rush down the ground 
then, with the ball close between his feet 
calling to his side with clear, ringing voice to 
back up and come on and finally break out 
into a shout of boisterous merriment when he 
had carried it between the posts and not seldom 
the discomfited goalkeeper with it. He ap- 
peared to be muscle all over ; every muscle 
seemed on such occasions to be working, and 
very hard some of us found them when we did 
not happen to be playing on his side. 

I have said that he was a great athlete. He 
was something more, and I always thought he 
showed this in a marked way on the day he 
won the School Steeplechase the blue ribbon 
of all our athletic events. The morning was 
wet and the ground was heavy, the course 
being from the Sanatorium field to Eton Wick, 
then to the Butts, on to the second railway 
bridge, across by Willow Brook, to the time- 
honoured School Jump over Chalvey a dis- 
tance of about three miles. 

Some of us accompanied the runners in the 
race that day, cutting across from point to 


point. Five boys were more or less together 
in the leading group when the last fence was 
cleared, one of whom was Ainslie. The School 
Jump lay two hundred yards ahead, with the 
winning-post some thirty yards beyond it. A 
vast concourse of boys there thronged both 
banks of the stream, and shouts were already 
being raised for this or that favourite. 

Two of the five had fallen back half-way 
across the last field, and Ainslie was only three 
yards behind the leader. They reached School 
Jump together, and scrambled out of the water 
together, amidst the deafening shouts of the on- 
lookers. They were neck and neck for the first 
ten of those crucial thirty yards : then Ainslie 
shot ahead and won by only a short distance. It 
had been one of the finest races that had ever 
been run over the course, and he had fairly 
won it ; but the very first thing he did and he 
was a year and more younger than the boy he 
had just beaten was to go and look for this 
last in the cheering crowd, out of breath as 
he was, and say to him, quickly " It was as 
much your race as mine, really." Then he 
escaped as soon as he could, and we returned 
to my Dame's together. 

The day happened to be a half-holiday, and 
I founc} him jn his room that afternoon, absorbed 


in a volume of the Elizabethan poets, as if still 
wishing to keep out of the way. 

He looked up when I entered, and said as 
he rose from his chair and began pacing the 
floor " Here ; read that read that! Isn't it 
fine?" Then he repeated the first two and 
last two lines from a stanza of a lyric of 

" The garlands wither on your brow. 

Then boast no more your mighty deeds ! 

Only the actions of the just 

Smell sweet and blossom in their dust. 

Or this," he continued, snatching the book 
from my hand " this Integer Vita of Thomas 
Campion. Here it is, look 

" The man of life upright, 

Whose guiltless heart is free 
From all dishonest deeds, 
Or thought of vanity . . ." 

The poetry he had been reading seemed to 
have set his mind on fire, and presently when 
I put the book down, he burst out with 

" Come on ; let's go up to St. George's. 
There is plenty of time ; the service isn't till 
four. It will cool us down." 

A quarter of an hour later we were entering 
the Chapel from the cloisters,. It had been our 


habit during all our Eton days to go there on 
short after fours from time to time. For one 

thing, the organist, Sir , was an intimate 

friend of Ainslie's, taking great interest in his 
love for music, and indeed, I believe, being 
never absent from the School concerts when 
Ainslie was playing or singing at those popular 
entertainments. It was through this friend that 
Ainslie's love of Bach had originated, and there 
was little doubt what the closing voluntary 
would be when he was up in the organ-loft. 

We had only to take our stand at the narrow 
doorway opening on to the flight of stone steps 
in the wall leading up into this last, and our 
place for the service was assured. The old 
man merely gave us a nod as he unlocked the 
door that day, taking it for granted what we 
were there for. 

There were sometimes one and sometimes 
two assistants present, to pull out the stops and 
learn what they might, by watching the doings 
of one who was said then to be the finest 
accompanist of the Psalms ever known. 
Ainslie would take his place either at the 
back of the player, or at the small kneeling- 
desk on the left, looking down on to the floor 
of the Chapel the banners of the Knights 
of the Garter just above his head, the in- 


tense silence only broken by a deep-toned 
bell, apparently far away ; by the footsteps 
of those few who attended the service as they 
passed up the nave, or the careless shutting 
of a door. 

In the enclosed choir itself, the silence was 
the silence of the grave, the dim religious light 
being that of many candles ; the thousand 
brasses that covered the back of the old oak 
stalls catching a gleam now and again, and al- 
ways with those emblazoned Knights' banners 
overhead to tell their story. There is no 
place quite like that in the world, and it was 
never without its effect upon us as boys, speak- 
ing to Ainslie especially, I think, by reason of 
the beautiful refinement on every hand, the 
subdued colouring and general richness, and 
the wide space of National history that is there 

The Psalms for the day included the 78th, 
and Ainslie's face was lit with delight when 

Sir never missed an opportunity, verse by 

verse, and [a whole volume of sound went 
travelling along the groined roof to find echo 
in a hundred arches. I saw the old man bend 
down to the boy from his seat as the Grace 
was being said, and fancied I heard Ainslie 
whisper "Yes, play the great G minor" 


The next moment the service was over and 
the subject of the fugue broke the silence : 

-i M I I i i F"^ i i 

He scarcely spoke all the way home that 
day ; but I could hear him humming the sub- 
ject again and again to himself as we walked 
back in the drizzle and the dusk that November 
afternoon. At last he exclaimed, in boyish 
fashion " That kind of thing will give us a 
leg up when the great day comes ; you mark 
my words ! Of course the recollection of that 
Chapel we shall carry to the end of our lives 
it is heavenly. But I was thinking of the 
music : what couldn't one do to such sounds 
as those!" 

He appeared to have quite forgotten that he 
had that day won the oldest and greatest of 
all the athletic events of the School, and never 
even referred to it. But as we turned down 
Keate's Lane, I heard one small boy say to 
another " Look, there goes Ainslie." 

Everyone knew him ; yet it is given to few 


to be known by their Christian names alone, 
and throughout a School of a thousand boys. 

The days of youth were drawing to an 
end, and the summer half had come round for 
the last time for both of us. Three months 
hence would see us boys no longer in the true 
sense : the gay life of this place, with its colour 
and its song, would be at an end : Eton would 
have left its ineffaceable impress upon us, and we 
should have to go out, to begin at the bottom 
again, to clamber if we might in search always 
of those ideals that the majority have glimmer 
of, and that lie in the mists of the blue hills, 
or away in the depths of purer heavens over- 

No doubts as to the margin of time that 
would be ours had, so far, ever crossed the 
mind. Life was assured long life ; and all 
things were attainable. It was only necessary 
to step out to the sound of the drum, and there 
would follow victory ; to be followed in the 
end, of course, by peace. That last came for 
all : for the moment there was life, with eyes 
still undimmed, heart whole, strength that 
knew not tiredness, and soul unstained. 

Ainslie's position in the School equalled if 


it did not excel that of anyone here by reason 
of the record that lay behind. He also stood 
high in school work, and in his last half was 
one of the ten Oppidans in Sixth Form. His 
attainments were above the average, and the 
work he turned out was always good ; but I 
question whether a classical curriculum was the 
one best suited to him. His tastes lay primarily 
in English Literature. He was fond of history 
and studied that of other countries besides his 
own. Military history had especial attractions 
for him, as has been said, and often in winter 
evenings when we should, perhaps, have been 
otherwise occupied, we would fight the battles 
of the Peninsular War over again, and he 
would sometimes repeat by heart Napier's 
famous page on the close of the great day of 

The Life of the Duke of Wellington and 
the story of Waterloo also engaged us, though, 
for many reasons, the History of the Crimean 
War was our greatest favourite. Kinglake's 
first volumes had appeared, and we read and 
re-read these, together with a much worn copy 
of Russell's Letters. He would often lament 
the fact that our proper studies were for the 
most part wholly classical. " I love Horace," 
he would say " and also Virgil, and you and 


I can follow with delight many a page in 
Thucydides, and laugh at the wit in the Plays. 
All the same, I do wish we had more of what 
is called elsewhere the Modern Side, and that 
they would occasionally teach us something 
different and let these verses and iambics drop 
out a bit." 

He certainly always tried to remedy such 
conditions in his own case, and spent all the 
time he could snatch in reading the standard 
works of his own Country, both in the House 
library and also during the holidays. His 
memory was a very retentive one. He had no 
difficulty in learning by heart, and when once 
he had made a passage his own or any lines 
that took his fancy he never forgot them. 

His favourites among the poets were Milton, 
Shelley, Keats, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Brown- 
ing, with others of his own day, and he loved the 
sonnets and the lyrics of writers of earlier times 
and could repeat many of them. By this means 
he was often ready with a quotation that exactly 
fitted what he was talking about at the moment. 
Being no prig he seldom indulged in this habit 
unless alone with a personal friend ; but now 
and then he would repeat a verse or two of 
Hood's Faithless Nelly Gray, Thackeray's 
Chronicle of the Drum, or some remark of 


Sam Weller's or of Mr. Pickwick's, going into 
shouts of laughter at the thoughts they brought 
to his mind, and making others laugh by his 

He always possessed the keenest sense of 
fun, gathering amusement everywhere and 
seeing the funny side in everything that crossed 
his path. At the same time he would occa- 
sionally pass from grave to gay in a moment, 
as if the serious side that was always a part of 
him had got the upper hand. Certainly during 
our last half he often struck me as graver than 
he had been, though ready as ever to join in 
any fun that was to the fore. For the rest, his 
position now entailed much responsibility and 
a good deal of power, and I know that he 
felt this, and that it was necessary for him to 
study his actions very closely. It did not weigh 
on him. He acted no part. He was just him- 
self at all times, and never anything but per- 
fectly natural. But he measured his words 
more carefully, became far more moderate in 
the opinions he advanced in Pop, and without 
knowing it acquired a certain dignity. He had 
in fact gone to the top. Unconsciously he set 
a standard, and, as is always the case with 
leaders of men, he had the power of bringing 
out the very best in his subordinates. 


Yet in this School, renowned for turning out 
leaders, I do not think he ever realised that 
he was now actually a leader himself, much less 
what a leader he was. His numberless suc- 
cesses had left him the most simple-minded 
being amongst us. It was characteristic of 
him, for instance, that though one or two cups 
necessarily stood on his mantelpiece, none of 
his many colours adorned the walls of his room. 
He disliked show of any kind, and also con- 
demned all forms of adulation. Feelings of 
all sorts, however genuine, were to be re- 
strained. What mattered first of all to him 
was the honour of his School : his own personal 
doings were insignificant in his eyes, and were 
certainly not to be talked about. He went 
his way among us quite unspoilt, and in that 
expressive phrase of Tacitus, " enjoyed the 
felicity of success with fortitude." 

During the five and a half years that he 
had spent here, he had, of course, gradually 
developed in mind and character very greatly ; 
but he had also, by the strenuousness of his 
athletic training, brought his body to perfection. 
Physically he would have been dubbed by his 
schoolfellows " a fine specimen." And so he 
was. He was of large frame, though loose 
knit. He stood now a little under six foot 


in height, and held his head high and some- 
what back as he passed along at a slinging 
walk. In a sense he was certainly good- 
looking ; but it was his whole carriage, apart 
from his fine features, his ruddy, sun-tanned 
complexion, fair hair and laughing, grey eyes, 
that captivated us masters and boys alike. 

Our Tutor just hit it off, I think, in a letter 
to me afterwards long afterwards and which 
I have kept with a few others : 

" I used sometimes to think of him in my 
own mind as a kind of Charmides," he writes. 
" Even we Masters seemed, in Plato's phrase, 
1 to be enamoured of him.' But I must give 
you the whole passage, though no doubt you 
remember it. Here it is, in Jowett's words, 
not mine ' That grown men like ourselves 
should have been affected in this way is not 
surprising, but I observed that there was the 
same feeling among the boys : all of them, 
down to the very least child, turned and looked 
at him as if he had been a statue.' Isn't that 
true, now ? dear fellow that he always was ! " 

There is never an hour to spare in an Eton 
summer half. Life runs at full tide. The 
Fourth of June, the Winchester match, Henley, 


Lord's, Bisley are the chief milestones ; and 
in between them, every furlong is marked by 
some event the pageantry of the Boats, the 
Sculling, the Pulling, Trial Eights, the House 
Fours, and many another contest on the river ; 
and in the Playing Fields, the weekly School 
matches, the strenuous doings of all the Clubs, 
with the House Cup again to finish up the 
whole. With the work of the School that 
curious collection of snippets and short hours 
all these must be carried on as well. There 
must be no pause. Everything must be fitted 
in to a nicety, and on all sides it is ordained 
that there shall be never-ending competition. 

Young hearts beat high, and the warm blood 
of youth rushes up and is full of hope. It 
is only the ne'er-do-weels that are without 
aim here. Even the smallest of the company 
is possessed of some minute ideal when the 
days are long, just as those who are older 
have theirs when the margin ahead grows 
short. To be one of eight ; to be one of 
eleven, and this in a company of a thousand ! 
The odds against full success are heavy. 
But the atmosphere here is full of radiant 
confidence, and young minds sail in on the 
top of the tide with the sweet fresh breeze 
behind them, knowing nothing of haphazard, 


and caring less, may be, as to who shall be 
crowned as king of them all. Let there be 
a good fight for place and an honourable one, 
and then the world here shall crown whom 
it will, if now and again with the same 
clumsiness and apparent irresponsibility that 
the world outside too often shows. 

There had been nothing haphazard in Ainslie 
Gore's crowning, and he had certainly not 
come to his own by chance. A natural aptitude 
had helped him very largely, and nature had 
favoured him in many ways ; yet it was mainly 
by his own personality that he had really won 
the position he now occupied, and stood as 
one of the half-dozen real leaders in the place. 
The sense of responsibility was putting finish- 
ing touches to his youthful character all through 
this last half. This was still the growing time ; 
the full flowering would come anon, and how 
fair that would be, those picked men who stood 
over us liked among themselves to contemplate. 

"He is certainly not afraid of anything or 
anybody," said one of these last in my hearing, 
watching him batting steadily in Upper Club 
in a match against the M.C.C. 

" Afraid ? I should just think not ! Do you 
remember the story that went the rounds last 
football half of how he tackled Rogers, who 


was then at his Dame's and in the Eight. He 
had been told that Rogers wore shin pads, or 
whatever they are called just fancy! Well, 
Gore went up to him and said ' We don't 
come here to save our shins but to fight for 
the House, and I'll swear you shan't play for 
us again if I hear of you wearing things like 
that in any game in the place.' ' 

"Ah, but that was nothing to the way in 
which he took that unfortunate decision of our 
colleague, Arkwright," returned another Master, 
sitting in the next chair. " That struck me as 
grand, for it amounted to hideous provocation. 
Weren't you there? Well, Gore had set his 
heart on winning the Cup once more for his 
Dame's before he left, and they were a long 
way the best eleven. Someone got in the way, 
they said, and Arkwright didn't see it, and 
gave a goal after Leslie had touched the ball 
with his hands. It was quite wrong, as every- 
body at that end of the ground agreed : the 
other side were actually standing still, so sure 
of it were they. A more mortifying thing 
could not have happened ; and time was called 
before the position could be retrieved. The 
others kept kicking it out. But I never saw 
a finer test of character in my life. Gore never 
said a word. He bore the test well, and his 


eleven followed his example. The fickle god- 
dess had deserted them. Laudo manentem : si 
celeres quatit pennas . . . We all know the 

"Yes," said another "I remember. But 
those House matches are always the most ex- 
citing sport in the world ; the spirit of rivalry 
runs higher then than in any other contest of 
the year." 

" There goes another four ! " exclaimed the 
previous speaker "and very nearly into Fel- 
lows' Pond." There was clapping of hands 
all round the ground. " I hope he'll do that 
next week : it will be his last match there. 
Leaving yes." 

" More's the pity ; but he'll go to the top 
wherever he is," remarked the other. "He's 
bound to succeed with a character like his." 

The following week Ainslie contributed his 
share at Lord's in winning the match against 
Harrow, his last hit for his School, a very fine 
one to square leg, striking the walls of the 
racket courts. Three weeks later the day 
before the half ended he had the further satis- 
faction of winning the House Cup for his 
Dame's, and mainly by his bowling. I believe 
that gave him as much pleasure as anything. 

We walked home that evening, taking our 


way through the cloisters, as we had done a 
thousand times in the past five years. I do 
not think it struck either of us that it was the 
last time we should do so. As we crossed 
School Yard, I remember saying something 
about this final success for him. He only 
looked towards me and smiled, saying nothing. 
But I fancy the remark set his mind running 
on the past, and that he was tracing back his 

Only those who have loved Eton know what 
it is to leave Eton. And if this means that 
all know because all have love, there are de- 
grees here as elsewhere. For an affectionate, 
warm-hearted disposition such as Ainslie's, the 
close of his Eton days was nothing less than 
a matter of poignant grief. Close intercourse 
with him had already taught me to divine his 
thoughts with tolerable accuracy, and being 
conscious now of what was making him so 
silent, I ventured some further remark about 
his career and what he had to look back upon. 
I do not think he would have allowed anyone 
else to say as much ; but he took it from me 
in the way it was meant. 

" Don't let's talk more of that," he said, 
nudging me with his elbow, after his manner, 
and turning to look up at the great clock in 


Lupton's Tower, whose golden figures were 
catching the last of the sunlight " don't let's 
talk of that ! " Then he added, half to himself, 
as we went out on to the open road from under 
the archway : " In less than twelve hours I 
shall be nobody." 



AINSLIE GORE'S education during those five and 
a half happy years at Eton had not been con- 
fined to what books might give, but as with 
other boys in other schools the world over, 
had been gathered all the while from many 
sources. His Eton training had taught him, 
for instance, what it was to exercise authority 
among his fellows, and through this he had 
learnt the meaning of a greater self-control. It 
had shown him, no less, the pitfalls lying open 
for all leaders, and at the same time how, by 
his own individual actions, he might pass these 
by in safety. Of responsibility, and what that 
might often entail, he had seen much ; and 
above all, had come to him what honour really 
meant the points of conduct that it held up to 
view ; the common path it never failed to show, 
no matter what the calling in the wider world 
the sacrifice that it at any moment might lay 
claim to. These and many another lesson he 
had learnt, and the invisible hand of his alma 


mater here had taken pains to graft each into 
his heart and soul. 

And while he was thus perfecting his equip- 
ment, often unconsciously, for eight months 
out of every twelve, a further education of 
quite another order was progressing no less 
strenuously elsewhere. Each was in reality 
the complement of the other, and each was 
equally designed to fit him for the place he 
would ultimately occupy in life. In other 
words, while Eton was busy turning him out 
as one of her true sons, his father in his home, 
with characteristic far-sightedness, was teach- 
ing him all the hidden secrets of the land and 
the wider responsibilities that would some day 
come for him. 

Such things might, as in that other case, be 
gatherable from books, and only gatherable 
there ; but there were countless others also that 
no printed book could ever teach. Contact 
with them from the earliest days, followed 
always by closer insight as the years ran on, 
was the only way in which they could become 
part of a man's own self. The air of the fields, 
the winds that came out of the heavens, the 
voices to be heard in the great woods, scarcely 
audible or altogether inarticulate as they might 
be, were the sources from which they would 


ultimately spring. There were untold mysteries 
here, some of which no one could hope to 
fathom altogether ; yet at the same time there 
were others lying within each man's grasp 
that the land itself would yield, and the folk 
living on the land would give up, to those who 
came with open heart to learn. 

I have no doubt whatever in my own mind 
that the Squire realised all this to the full. He 
told me as much later on in my life, and more- 
over I recall many a walk with him and Ainslie 
when he happened to be engaged upon estate 
matters, and the pains he took to answer our 
questions. He would always encourage us to 
come, wherever he might be going, and seemed 
to delight in having us with him ; and he never 
sought to improve the occasion for our special 

Sometimes he would impart his information 
in the form of a joke, and at others ask us 
what we thought concerning some point that 
was under discussion between him and his 
estate steward. 

" Now then, you two boys," he would say 
" what are we to do about this ? Purcell says 
he must have this big cow-ground divided into 
three fields for convenience of pasturage ; where 
are the fences to run ; and where are the 


gates and the watering-places to be ? Not quite 
so easy to say, is it ? " Then he would add : 
14 Yes, that would do, or wouldn't do," generally 
ending up in a way that showed that in his 
own mind he had grasped the position ex- 

In the first instance, his motive in all this 
had no doubt been to make an end of some 
of our boyish doings. They were becoming 
dangerous, and more than once had nearly 
brought disaster. But after a while he appeared 
to grow more and more anxious to put as 
much practical knowledge in Ainslie's way as 
was possible, and to teach him the things he 
ought certainly to know. This only son of 
his would one day succeed him, and would 
then have to face difficulties that confronted 
him now continually himself, and in ways that 
they had never done before. 

The outlook on the land was changing, and 
there were ample signs that dark days lay 
ahead for all out here. Prices were falling 
more and more rapidly ; competition grew 
yearly more acute ; and it looked as if the 
farmer was going to be undercut in every 
quarter. Even the seasons seemed to be 
against him, and in the wind and the rain 
and the rotting crops, sounds were to be 


heard to which the countryside had long been 

Men of all classes were growing increasingly 
anxious, and were asking themselves what was 
coming next. Good gold was sunk in this 
soil, and the rains were washing it away 
beyond recovery. There were many here of 
strength and skill and long experience who 
went toiling on in the old spirit was their 
field of labour to become the playground of 
forces that they could not comprehend ? They 
might well ask ; there was room for some 
bewilderment in all they saw about them. They 
were men for the most part of grand heart ; 
but such conditions as these were enough to 
break the stoutest. Some might stand against 
the adverse flood for a time, being financially 
stronger; but there were others, in plenty, 
who had their all laid out in this very soil, 
and who, by hook or crook, were just keeping 
their lips above the water. Were these to go 
under altogether, as scores were doing else- 
where, and in this very County ? 

All alike were threatened. The fight had 
begun some years before ; it was evidently 
to be a stiff one. There were three partners 
in all that had to be done in these fields, 
Were they going to stand together, or go 


apart ? Everything must ultimately depend on 
that. Some would fall, as in other fights, and 
their places be no longer known their very 
names blotted out; others must obviously be 
crippled for life, and none could hope to come 
out quite unscathed. 

The war must be fought through, somehow 
that was very certain. And these men against 
whom it was primarily waged were just the 
class to fight it. In the case of two of the 
partners out of the three, their whole lives 
were a fight when viewed from their separate 
standpoints. The third must come to their 
aid still further, make even more strenuous 
sacrifice than hitherto, and help to fight the 
battle that way. All were agreed on that 
point. Taken together and regarded imparti- 
ally this partnership that could not be dissolved, 
was not, apparently, to be brought to ruin and 
crushed without an honest struggle. There 
was fight in these men. 

But however this might be, here was stern 
reality that had to be met. Old systems must 
go to the wall ; old tools that had had their 
day must be cast on the scrap-heap ; brains 
must work where hands had done the most 
before ; the economist and the scientist must 
be called in to aid ; the State must no longer 


ignore the oldest of its industries ; there must 
be a further general lowering of rent, and 
relief in other forms ; more capital must some- 
how be procured. Such were the cries to be 
heard on all sides at this date. 

No one who walked the land, then, is likely 
to forget those years, or the picture that they 
left upon the mind. For the rest, there stood 
out this not in all quarters, but in many 
a lasting example of British stubbornness. 
There were few signs anywhere of giv- 
ing in. 

Among those out here was one class 
especially with whom hope was a main factor 
always. In these fields, under this open sky, 
was never any certainty never could be. 
They had followed a calling that had been 
bred in them for generations. They were 
accustomed to chuck their money into the soil 
and hope to Heaven for a yield. They left 
their capital to walk over the pastures as 
stock, or to feed in the folds as sheep, and 
hoped that with due care on their part, the 
elements would surfer all those mouths to get 
their fill. They laid out their money in newest 
machinery, and hoped by these means to 
reduce expenditure. And then they looked 
to the markets, and hoped again for a margin 


there, that should leave them and theirs at 
least a living. They wanted all their hope 
now. They were attacked on all sides ; but 
in the majority of instances, the same qualities 
never seemed to fail them, proving once more 
the old truth, that hope will stay by a man 
when he has nothing else. 

Just here, on these two adjacent properties, 
no real tragedies occurred no auction or 
selling up, with the turning of the back on 
what had been the home for years and 
perhaps for a good reason. The strain re- 
mained, year in year out, perilously near the 
breaking-point for some ; yet these men never 
seemed to know when they were beaten. 
" The next season would put matters right " ; 
the next season was wet again. " Lost the main 
of our hay, and very unfort'nate, too ; but keep 
be plentiful on the lower meadows, and should 
it come a fairly open winter we shall carry 
through " ; that winter there was not a reen 
on the meadows that was not frozen hard. 
" Got a nice piece of wheat in the furlong 
nice length of straw to it and a fine head, if 
we can get it in " ; there came one August 
night a storm that left that crop, by morning, 
as though a steam-roller had been over it. 
Such were the remarks, and too often the 


outcome, in this corner of England. I can 
but write the things I know. 

There was little change as the time went 
on ; and what there was seemed always for 
the worse, as the seventies' ran out and the 
eighties' brought no relief whatever. With 
the price of wheat at fifty shillings or " stand- 
ing in the fifties'," as they called it here there 
had been a chance ; but now it had long left 
the fifties' for the forties', and in '83 had bid 
these last a final good-bye. Even the thirties' 
did not hold for long ; and then followed the 
twenties', with scarcely a break for years. 
Barley and oats told a no better tale, till at 
length it became well-nigh impossible to culti- 
vate the ground and make a profit. 

High farming, some said, might do better; 
but where was high farming when it touched 
these clays ; and where was the money ? The 
cry became general for cheaper methods. The 
land should go down to grass, and the plough 
should be left to rust behind the barn or under 
the hedge, its day being, seemingly, for the 
most part done. The labour bill must be 
reduced, and rents still further ; there must be 
relief in rates. There was no living like this ! 
In some cases these men were growing angry ; 
in others bitter. But still, until ruin, out and 


out, stared them in the face, and credit at last 
became exhausted, grumble, and grumble loudly 
as many did, the vast majority went doggedly 
on and always without losing hope. 

Such a picture is not easily forgotten. 
There is, in truth, good reason for remember- 
ing it, and first because, in other form, it is still 
before the eyes. The Gores of Denton, like 
many another family, were dependent upon 
the land for the greater part of their income. 
The estate, with those wide stretches down by 
the Severn, the marsh lands, and the great 
woods that reached up the hills behind the 
park, comprised altogether over 5000 acres, 
some of the land being very good and very 
little of it poor. Much of the pasturage was 
fairly rich, and if some of the ploughing was 
stiff soil, it suited wheat well, and on the lighter 
lands grew some useful roots, while there was 
no want of good orcharding on any of the 
holdings. If a man could farm at a profit 
anywhere, he could do so here, more especially 
when the lowness of the rents was considered. 
And when bad times came he knew, moreover, 
where to look for some relief. 

" Ther' bain't an ordinary held o' market 


days leastways, where I do 'tend myself 
wher' that ain't general knowledge," remarked 
Farmer Drew, when this last point was re- 
ferred to at the table of "The Top Boot" one 
Saturday. He had farmed under the Gores, 
as he termed it, all his life, and his father 
before him ; and what was more, he had a 
stalwart son who looked to follow him, " when 
the time did come for him to put his spoon 
in the wall hisself." 1 He was one of the old- 
fashioned sort ; wore box-cloth leggings with 
brass buttons, and his hair was white and 
somewhat long beneath his broad-brimmed, 
black felt hat. 

" And that be just wher' it do come in," he 
continued. " They be gentlemen, every smite 
of 'em, and been so always. You'll never see 
a Gore profit by another's downfall : he'd a 
long sight sooner be loser hisself. There be 
the custom of the County, as we all do know ; 
but, our way, ther' be, further, the custom of 
the estate, and that don't never change a lot 
wi' us. Ther' be only one thing as you've got 
to minds go honest, and yer safe to be treated 
fair ; try it on, and you be done. And I do 
most cheerful maintain, that on our Squire's 
estate, a man as farms as un should ah, and 
1 To die. 


in the times as have come about us now can 
go on farmin/ and get the lend of a helpin' 
hand ay, and not be chucked out, like a so 
much must-cake, when every drop have been 
wrung through the hairs." 1 

Farmer Drew sat at the head of the board 
and was looked up to ; and as he talked, 
tabbering his knuckles on the table, the 'com- 
pany in his neighbourhood silently assented, 
nodding their heads at the close of the old 
man's remarks. 

" Bringing his son up in the way he should 
go, bain't he?" asked a farmer from a neigh- 
bouring estate. " Pity as more doesn't do it. 
Times be nashun bad, and if the young folks 
of their class don't scawt about and larn as 
they should, wher' be we goin' to be ? " 

" That's right enough," returned Farmer 
Drew ; " and that be just what our Squire be 
doin'. I've eyed 'em a good bit of late, on my 
place and about. Seems to be always together, 
these days. And the lad's a-shapin' remarkable 
well, I can tell ye." 

" And can't he ride, too, and handle a 
gun nice ? " put in another. " I see'd un out 

1 " Must," or " mast," is the apple-cake after the crushed fruit 
from the cider mill has been wrung through cloths made of 


t'other day with his Lordship, a-goin' like 
smoke, and as straight as you like. Take 
summut to stop he when he come to be a bit 
older, I reckons. Wonderful steady lad, they 
says, and pleasant ways wi' un." 

" That's so," returned Drew again " feature 
his father remarkable, he do ; and I ain't no 
chancer 1 when I says as our Squire means to 
do all as is in his power to interest un in things 
as he'll be handlin' when un's turn comes. 
Nothin' dilladerry about our Squire, I can tell 
ye ; and if this here lad, Mr. Ainslie, goes for a 
bit o' soldiering, as they says he be, he'll do no 
more than hisn's father a-done, and ihis gran'- 
father a-done afore he, for that matter. It 
never served either o' they any harm, so far as 
I can hear say ; and like enough he'll come 
back all the better for it. Does all folks good 
to see a bit o' life, afore they comes to settle 

Farmer Drew's remarks were only those to 
be heard at any time at Denton. The people 
of the Manor had rejoiced at this boy's birth, 
and watched him as he grew. They were 
watching him still, and even closer than they 
had done before, now that he was growing tall 
and filling out. Many had already heard of 
1 A teller of untruths, or one given to exaggerate. 


the mark he was making at his school, and 
were proud of it, especially when they could 
read his name " on the paper " ; or were told 
"as he'd been playin' in a girt match in 
Lunnun's town, wi' a sight of folks a-lookin' 
on, so as they was black as flies upon the turf ; 
and set round in thousands upon thousands, 
they did," according to Susan Mantel's version 
of the matter. 

Among the young men and the boys, such 
doings gave him a place at once, and when he 
came home for the summer holidays and 
attended church, many were watching for him 
to enter with the rest of the choir, as was his 
custom. He had always sung in the choir, 
from the time he could read the Psalms, and 
continued to do so now. He attended the 
practices regularly at the village school ; and 
often when the evening service on Sundays 
was over, would take the organist's place and 
play the concluding voluntary, while the church 
slowly emptied and Josiah the sexton put the 
candles out, one by one, and always with his 
finger and thumb. 

The instrument was a beautiful one, and 
Ainslie would throw his whole self into what 
he was playing, either by heart or out of his 
head, till he seemed to lose all count of time, 


and Dick Bond, the blower, " reckoned as the 
young Squire was ther' to make game on 

On such occasions, this worthy would come 
out of the organ chamber when silence had at 
length fallen on the church, making much 
parade of mopping his face with a large red 
handkerchief. Ainslie would take stock of him 
and smile, saying : " Blown, Dick ? Well, 
come and blow for me to-morrow and we'll 
make it right." 

To which Dick, one of the Manor gardeners, 
who lived rent free through filling this office, 
would reply : " Well, ther' ; you do give it un 
smartish, to be sure ! For my part, 'wever, I 
do favour our Mr. Tracker ; he bain't so 
des'pert random." Dick was a privileged 
person, and had blown the organ for forty 

But it was among the members of the cricket 
club that Ainslie was looked upon as a real 
king. Twice a week he was down there in 
the evening to coach the players at the net, 
going without his dinner and taking as much 
pains with the boys as the professionals did 
with him at Eton. Often, too, before a match, 
he might be seen trimming up the ground with 
a machine, or pulling the roller for the greater 


part of the morning. " There is nothing on 
this earth so funny as village cricket," he would 
say " I simply love it." 

Of course the club was very proud of their 
captain, and took care to tell those who came 
to play against them what they might expect. 
"But see here," Bill Terrett, the second 
captain, would remark " he hain't one to take 
unfair advantage o' we. Like enough he'll 
pertend as he's watty-handed 1 for the day, or 
put hisself in wi' the tail. But see here again 
yer'll never bowl un out when he minds to 
be once in can't do it myself, wi'out it be now 
and again upon times." Bill bowled underhand 
at an amazing pace, delivering the ball when 
both his feet were off the ground. 

" And like enough, you'll see un lift the 
barl right aboove the trees, yonder," added 
another "and then anyun's got to foot it as 
be in wi' un. He won't have no bounds here. 
' Let's run 'em arl out,' he says ; ' ther' be 
more sport in it.' And then away goes a slog 
for six, and he do call 'Hern Bill hern! ' same 
as it wus last Sat'day, till Bill, ther', did pitch 
down right head foremost, poor wratch ! " 

It was considered advisable to inspire the 
Other ide with fear, so far as might be possible 

1 Left-handed. 



at Denton ; or as Sam Cook, a shepherd of 
comical appearance and possessed of one eye, 
would remark with a grin, before the play 
began " 'Twas but only right and fair to give 
'em an item of what they wus to see, arter a 
start wer' made." 

Nor was it very different when the long 
winter evenings came. There must be con- 
certs, and what these people liked best of all 
" summut of actin V And when nothing of this 
sort was going on, Ainslie turned the school 
into a kind of working-men's club, where there 
were newspapers, a bagatelle board, and other 
games to be played, with a bright wood fire on 
the hearth, and he himself there often enough 
after a long and wet day with the hounds to 
give all comers a welcome. 

In what he did in these various directions, 
he acted on the principle that as many as 
possible should join in and take their part. If 
a boy developed a good voice, he saw to it that 
he joined the choir ; if man or boy had a taste 
for cricket or football, let him join the clubs ; 
and let those who could find the time, come 
and look on and mix with the rest. " Never 
mind the feeling of shyness : come forward and 
sing a song and lend a hand in this village 
entertainment, and make the evening happier, 


and yourself at the 'same time." That was 
what he preached. 

" What we have got to do," he said to me 
once, "is to break down the stupid ideas that 
are coming in, that for Mrs. Brown to be over 
friendly with her neighbour Mrs. Jones, is for 
Mrs. Brown to imperil her position. There is 
only one way to do it, and that is to get folk to 
mix together by every possible means. We were 
never meant to stand apart from one another, 
no matter who we are with this class thinking 
themselves ever so much better than that, and 
being quite nervous of even rubbing elbows. 
Was there ever such snobbishness, when you 
come to think of it ? No man need ever lose 
a fraction of his position by anything of the 
kind, unless he is a born fool. What we have 
to do is to get to know each other better, and 
we can only do that by seeing more of each 

He certainly practised what he preached. 
He was welcomed by the poorest family in the 
place, and felt at home among them. He could 
go and sit in the parlour of his father's largest 
tenant, and be no less at home with him and 
the members of his family. He could go out 
in the fields, and the men would receive him 
there with a smile, knowing well that he could 


follow their calling and talk their tongue, young 
though he was. He was not yet nineteen and 
still at Eton ; but he was already possessed of 
tact and judgment in a marked degree, as well 
as a certain quiet dignity of manner that was no 
less friendly because it never invited familiarity. 

He did not minimise the difficulties he met 
with in carrying out his various schemes for the 
happiness and welfare of the place. He knew 
that such must be, and constantly went to the 
Squire for advice. 

"Making mistakes, are you? " this last would 
say with a laugh " Well ; who doesn't that has 
ever tried to do anything worth doing, I should 
like to know ? And if they say they haven't 
in their time, let them come out here and try 
it. What you have got to remember is that, 
to start with, you know nothing whatever about 
the inner lives of any of these people ; and 
that if you, placed as you are, live to be a 
hundred, you will die knowing precious little 
then ! Making mistakes ? of course you are. 
You think you have offended Smith, and you 
are quite sure you have rubbed Tom's nose 
unwittingly across his face. So much the 
better. You won't do it again, and Tom 
and Smith will make it up. 

" The more mistakes you make in learning 


the language here, the better for you. There 
is not one man in a hundred can go out into 
the fields and talk to those he meets there, 
without putting his foot in it and making an 
idiot of himself to a certainty. I've done it a 
thousand times ; and come away, after showing 
my own ignorance, feeling precious foolish, I 
can tell you. And what you have to do, my 
dear boy, is to do the same. You'll learn it 
all in time, right enough : I am not afraid of 
that!" The Squire took a long draw at his 
pipe and chuckled to himself. He and Ainslie 
were sitting together for half an hour before 
going to bed, according to their invariable 

The talk between them on these occasions 
often ranged over a variety of subjects ; and 
the Squire being one of those who appear to 
be constitutionally unable to take anything 
greatly to heart or very seriously, and certainly 
not at eleven o'clock at night, father and son 
could often be heard laughing together over 
their reminiscences. 

Living as close as I did, it was seldom that I 
stayed at Denton when there was a large house 
party. My parents would dine there and also 
my sister and myself ; or I might be asked to 
fill a place when an extra gun was wanted now 


and then. Otherwise my visits were generally 
confined to periods when father and mother 
and son were there alone, and I thus came in 
for many of those talks to which I have referred, 
apart from what Ainslie sometimes told me of 

A mutual trust and confidence existed be- 
tween the Squire and Ainslie that was delight- 
ful to witness. To me, they often appeared to 
be something more than father and son, their 
intercourse being more that of two close, per- 
sonal friends who hid nothing from each other, 
reserved though they both were in their several 
ways and differing greatly as they did in 
temperament. Of the two, Ainslie perhaps 
possessed the better brains, as he certainly 
also found some of his pleasures in directions 
that to his father were strange. But the 
Squire, while above the average in general 
capacity, possessed what was no less valuable 
to him in his position a shrewd common sense 
that was the outcome of a long experience and 
the sterling qualities that were his by birth. 

It would have been difficult to say which had 
the greater affection for the other ; and if their 
love differed in kind, as it naturally would, it 
was never questioned because so perfectly 
understood between the two. On the Squire's 


free days at home, and when Ainslie was there 
for his holidays, they were more and more 
together on the estate in these difficult years 
discussing the new buildings necessitated by 
the times, the repairs and alterations to cottages, 
and all the hundred and one details that are 
for ever wanting attention on the land. Few 
things had ever escaped this Squire, and no- 
thing did so now. He was here and there on 
his estate as occasion required, ready always 
with a helping hand and a quiet word of en- 
couragement ; and with him, when at home, 
was always his son. 

They seemed to have become inseparable. 
It was not only on the farm lands, or the land 
the Squire kept in hand himself, that they were 
often to be seen ; it was no uncommon thing for 
them to be out in the woods together as the 
seasons came round, arranging for new planting 
in company with the steward, or visiting this 
or that quarter that was due for its yield of 
timber or coppice wood, and when the Squire, 
armed with a pot of white paint, never failed 
to give his son a lesson in tree-marking 
which to spare and which to take, and the 
reasons for doing both. They liked, too, in 
their strolls together to watch this or that act 
of husbandry hedging and ditching, thatching 


and the work of the latest machine just as 
they were to be seen with the keepers and 
a friend or two, walking the stubbles and the 
roots when September came, or disappearing 
down the village lane on a wet and misty 
morning for a meet of the hounds in the 

And always on their return, from walk or 
shoot or hunt, it was their common practice to 
seek out that other one who made up the 
home the lady with the beautiful face, as I 
came to think of her Ainslie's mother ; tell 
her what they had been doing and ask her 
what she thought, either sitting together in the 
garden in the last of the sunlight, or in front of 
the wide hearth and the wood fire in the great 
library, when winter winds were whistling out- 
side, and the long night had shut down on the 

" What we have got to do," said the Squire 
once, when I was returning with him and Ainslie 
from a visit to an outlying part of the estate 
"what we have got to do is to stand by the 
farmers. I know things are going from bad 
to worse on the one side, and that outlay is in- 
creasing on the other. More and more land 
is going down to grass every year, and that 
often means that I have got to pay for the 


seed. And a pretty figure it comes to, draining, 
pit digging and all. Then they find they have 
no straw for thatching, or can't spare the little 
they have, the price being Jos. a ton now. So 
each one must have a French barn. I will 
show you the bills for these things this evening, 
Ainslie, on Bettle's farm alone barn ^147 
the finest in the County; grass seed 116; 
draining further bank field ^83. Might just 
as well buy the land over again ! " The Squire 
seemed amused at the idea. 

" But it is getting almost too much of a joke, 
though, isn't it?" he continued "especially 
when our low rents have had to bear fifteen 
and twenty per cent, rebates for years, and 
with twenty-five, for certain, this year. Can't 
be helped can't be helped ! Must fight it out 
together somehow. There must come a change, 
if we can only live to see it." Then, as though 
wishing to leave the subject, he took Ainslie 
by the arm, saying " Come along ; let's go 
and look at the horses. May as well do so as 
long as we have any ; seems as if the stables 
were going to be clean emptied before long, 
with you and I running with the hounds!" 
And once again the squire broke into a laugh. 

Economies were being practised at Denton 
in many directions, and matters looked into in 


ways that they had never been before. " People 
always begin with their gardeners, when they 
want to economise," remarked the Squire 
one evening, when we were sitting together. 
" Seems to me fairer to begin with the horses. 
Very hard to throw these poor fellows out of 
work ; besides, the gardens give no end of 
pleasure to the village folk in summer time, 
when they are open to them on Sundays. Next 
season I have made up my mind to come down 
to one horse I can hunt, with a pair for your 
mother's driving work. Welfare won't like it 
much ! It isn't as if it was going to be for 
ever, though. Times have been bad before, 
and they'll improve again. It's all nonsense 
thinking otherwise." 

" I shan't want a horse at all next season," 
said Ainslie " You see, if I leave at the end of 
the summer half, I must go and work and get 
ready for my exam." 

" Nonsense, my dear boy," returned the 
Squire " nonsense ! Part with Alice Grey ? 
never ! Why, she cut out the work for the lot 
of us last Tuesday, and carried you well. To 
me it was a pretty sight. Might as well ask 
me to part with Dan, there." Hearing his 
name the dog got up, and went first to one 
and then to the other, and then lay down again 


with a sigh. " He's part of the family ; and 
so is the mare in a way. She has carried you 
for five years now. Sell her ? not I ! Grass, 
perhaps, in a year or two, and take it easy for 
the rest of her days. Can't take money for 
a favourite much less shoot my old friends 
when I've done with them. Ah ! Alice Grey : 
whatever happens, she will never die in debt, 
as they say of a good horse at plough." 

" No," said Ainslie " that she certainly will 
never do." He was leaning forward and strok- 
ing Dan, who had curled himself up in front 
of the fire. " Nor this one," he added. Then 
he asked " With us, I suppose, it is generally 
our own fault if we do, isn't it ? " 

"Generally, perhaps; not always," returned 
the Squire. " A good many things may bring 
it on a man ; but I always think the hardest 
case is where it is shot on to him by his prede- 
cessors. Just look at the Oakleys of Stock- 
well. His father was reckoned a shrewd man ; 
but when he died, it was found that he had 
settled ever so many annuities on the property, 
with the result that the present man, John 
Oakley, has a job to keep his head above 
water. People may say what they like about 
his father being only able to judge of things as 
he found them, and that it was impossible for 


him to have foreseen what we are in for now. 
I don't quite agree. He had lived long enough 
on the land to know that there is never any 
certainty here, in our climate. For owners, 
no prizes and continual outgoings, letting alone 
increasing taxation ; and for the farmers, fall- 
ing markets and such things as bad seasons. 
The very uncertainty of it all should have 
been a warning to him, it seems to me. Never 
put a penny on the property, my dear boy 
never! You don't want to have a millstone 
slung round your neck, and you have no right 
to leave one for the necks of other people. 
No property out here can stand such things in 
these days. And the worst of it is that others 
often feel the weight who are in no way re- 

" Look at the Oakleys again. John is one 
of the best-hearted fellows in the County. He 
is sticking it out as well as he can, poor chap ; 
but with all the will in the world, he can't help 
his tenants, and they are going under. He 
simply lives to fight debt debt, too, that he 
never created : that's what he does. So much 
of his land lies wet, you see, especially on his 
meadows by the river. I don't expect you 
know them, though you must have crossed 
them out hunting without being aware of it. 


Yes over towards Bullpits, before you come 
to the Horseshoe bend : near there. Well, 
any rise in the river, and those meadows are 
waterlogged, and then the tide does the rest." 

"The last season must have been a bad one 
for them, I should think," said Ainslie. 

"Awful," returned the Squire "One of 
the wettest years we have known for a long 
while. Just look at ourselves. The hay lay 
out till it was black and rotten, and I know 
that ever so many acres of it were carted up 
here to be used as thatching for the wood- 
stacks. Some of it was not off the ground till 
after you went back in September, and some 
was still lying out in October. That was what 
we had here, and a dead loss ; but farther up, 
when the rains began and the river rose, the 
men up that way were not troubled much with 
the carting ; the tide did it for them, and away 
went the lot to sea." 

The Squire could not refrain from a low 
laugh to himself even at that. It was his way 
of taking things. He did not laugh because 
he was without feeling and sympathy. No 
man ever had warmer heart. Nor was there 
anything of the empty laugh denoting the 
vacant mind in this habit of his. There was 
nothing of vacancy or nervousness about this 


Squire. He had a supreme horror of the man 
who whined, that was all ; and the sight of an 
individual given to self-pity was the one thing 
that ever made him really angry. 

" For goodness sake, you two boys," he 
would say "never whine and never cry out. 
Drop it : it shows want of fight and is con- 
temptible ! " He certainly acted up to the 
standard himself, and when the outlook for 
him and others grew worse when further 
economies had to be practised, and the open 
hospitality at Denton had to be almost entirely 
given up he retained all his joviality, and 
took in good heart the troubles and losses that 
had emptied his stables and closed the greater 
part of his house. 

" I believe my father would continue to 
accept things, outwardly, in the way he does," 
said Ainslie to me once "if he and my 
mother were reduced to one room, and every 
tenant gave notice. But I know the other 
side, and how he feels it; and I begin to 
wonder whether I ought to go into the Army 
at all ; whether my place is not here, fighting 
to keep the home together as he is doing, 
and helping him all I know. Denton comes 
first and before life itself with me ; in fact 
the rest, no matter what it may be, is nowhere. 


And then, of late, a horrible idea has come 
into my mind that he and my mother are 
pinching themselves in my interests eventually. 
He talks of doing away with the one horse 
he has left for his hunting, and keeping one 
other and a pony for my mother to get about 
with. We used to have ten. Between them, 
too, they have dismantled part of the rooms 
and shut up half the place, as well as reduced 
the establishment, though outside, and in 
County matters, they go on working harder 
than ever. And the worst part of the business 
is that they are growing old and are doing 
without things they have been accustomed to 
all their lives. In fact, I believe the changes 
up here are greater than in any farm-house on 
the place. What do you think I ought to do ? " 

" Stick to your guns," broke in a cheery, well- 
known voice from the doorway " I don't know 
what you two boys were talking about ; but 
I couldn't help hearing the last question, and 
my answer to that is when in doubt, do 
that ! " 

It happened that one day, shortly after this, 
the Squire and I were alone together. Ainslie 
had been due to stay with us for the inside 
of the week, being now almost as much with 
us as I had been hitherto at Denton. But 


on the very day we had expected him he sent 
a note to say he must give up the visit. 
" Please tell your sister how sorry I am," he 
had added at the end. The remark made 
me smile. I don't think he would have written 
that unless he had been very hurried. 

The Squire was coming out of the front 
door, when I rode over two days later. " Just 
the boy I wanted to see," he exclaimed " Dear 
me I'm afraid there is no one handy to take 
your horse round for you. Take him round 
yourself, like a good fellow. You'll find old 
Welfare there. Ainslie has ridden his mare 
over to Stockwell. I'll tell you all about it 
in a minute : you'll find me in my room." 

"Come along in, and sit yourself down," 
he said, when I entered. It was almost im- 
possible for a face like his to look grave ; but 
on this occasion his expression was certainly 
graver than I had ever seen it. " I am sorry 
to say Ainslie has dropped into rather a sad 
affair over at Oakley's. I wouldn't have had 
it happen for worlds. What his mother and 
I always say we have to do is to make his 
life as bright as we can. The days are de- 
pressing enough for all of us ; but they must 
not be made so for boys of your age, where 
we can help it, I know Ainslie's mind is always 


dwelling on such things, and in his imaginative 
way he thinks that Denton which he loves 
better than his life, thank heaven ! is going 
to come clattering down with a run, with family 
bankruptcy to follow. We are not nearly done 
yet, though, and are good for a considerable 
number more rounds ! But what we have got 
to do" and the Squire dropped his voice 
" is to think, first, of the dear boy himself must 
think of him at our age, of course, and bolster 
him up for what he will have to face, when the 
time arrives for him to stand here alone. 

" Just fancy the other day he even hinted 
at not going into the Army, and doubted if 
he ought. Such nonsense ! Why, all Gores, or 
nearly all of them, have always been soldiers ; and 
after ten or twelve years' service, he will make 
all the better squire, depend upon it. There 
are few finer schools than a good regiment. 

"Well, but I was going to tell you. It 
happened on the night before last. He has 
not told me a lot about it himself, and it is 
just as well he shouldn't talk of it. The truth 
is, I have seen very little of him, for he was 
away early yesterday, and went off in the same 
way to-day : he had to give evidence this 
morning. However, I happened to meet Jim, 
Nat Organ's brother, yesterday evening. He 



lives over that way, you know, and he told me 
all about it. It was a horrible affair ; but 
Ainslie came out of it splendidly. I knew he 
would, if it came to a pinch at any time. His 
pluck is first class ; and at his age, when he 
might be expected to lose his head, he just 
gets as cool as you like." 

" He never loses his head at Eton," I put 
in "and we always say there, that the worse 
things are, the more he's to the fore." 

" I can quite believe that. But I must tell 
you," continued the Squire. " On Friday the 
hounds met at Stowell Crossroads, and had a 
very poor day, till the scent improved with a 
change of wind in the afternoon. They found 
in Ackerman's Holt, and ran from there to 
Hinksham woods. There they must have 
changed, for they were out as soon as in, and 
had a splendid five-mile point, right away to 
the turn of the Horseshoe on Oakley's property 
at Stockwell Court. Ainslie saw the whole of 
it on the grey trust him and he told me that 
it was just four o'clock when, in the end, they 
marked the fox to the ground. He had eleven 
miles to go in the dark, to get home from 
there, with a cold rain falling and a fog 
creeping up all over those meadows, so he 
gruelled his horse at Oakley's before starting. 


" I dare say you know things have been 
going badly in that part, and that John Oakley 
is put to it to carry on. Bad job for him, and 
his tenants too. Ever so many are all behind 
with their rents, and two more farms have 
recently been thrown on his hands. He has 
done his level best and can't do more, and the 
farmers know it. And they all know this, too, 
that in these days it is no use trying to farm 
under a poor landlord. They want his capital. 

"Well, this is what I gathered from Jim 
Organ, and I give it you pretty well in his 
own words. It was a wet, dark night and 
foggy, as I say ; and it seems that when Ainslie 
was jogging down one of those lanes, that he 
suddenly heard the sound of a shot in a dilapi- 
dated barn close to the road ; and at the same 
time someone coming towards him at a run. 
It was the local shepherd, who called out 

"'Hulloa, Mister! Don't know whom you 
be ; but come on, there's trouble agate here. I 
knows as sure as eggs is eggs what's come 
about that's the maister, and he've done it 
at last, spite of arl my watchin'. Been wrong 
in his yod ; or goin' so, 'wever. The times have 
upset un; but come you on, and lend a hand, 
whoever you meut be.' 

"Ainslie, it seems," added the Squire at this 


point, " was off his horse in a moment, and 
throwing the bridle over a gate post, followed 
the man at once. There is no reason to go into 
details ; but they found the poor fellow in the 
barn, dead as a nail. Of course the shot had 
brought others to the spot, and one ran up to 
the house to break what had happened to the 
wife. But I must continue the story as Jim 
Organ told it me. 

" * She did turn wonderful comical 1 for a 
bit,' he said, in the usual quaint way of his 
kind. ' She'd been half dunny afore, wi' arl 
the trouble as had come about. The man wus 
broke. Kept a-fighting on, yer know. Pinned 
hisn's faith to the hay, like ; and when that 
wer' car'd away by flood water, 't wer' arl 
over wi' un. Turned strange, he did ; and the 
shepherd ther', what found un, did warn the 
missus how it 'ould be. And kep' watch over 
un, he had, hisself, same as if er'd been one of 
un's own yeo. Says he been a wonderfu' good 
maister to he, strugglin' man though er had 
come to be of late. Ther' wus' them as 
threatened to sell un up ; and that broke un 
'twus the last straw, for he wer' honest and 
hardworkin', and wi' a fam'ly of sex at home. 

" * Us never knew'd, just then, who 'twus as 

1 Light-headed. 


broughted the body in wi' shepherd a thing 
as they shouldn't a-done, seemin'ly. Arl as 
us could see wus as he wore a red coat and 
white breech, and as un had been wi' th' ounds, 
and as un wus quite young. O' course I knows 
right enough now ; but un's shot up a lot, wi' 
a fine frame and look to un, since I a-seen un 

" ' And then us wus all in a caddie, yer see, 
wi' the wailin', and wi' nought but the light of 
a couple o' candles, and wi' a cold wet mizzle 
a-fallin' through the fog. The childern was 
packed off, and ther' wus only the por ooman 
herself, left along o' the lot of us, inside and 
outside door. 

"'She stood ther', wi' the corner of her 
kerchief tight between her teeth, and her eyen 
arl of a zwim. She wer' growin' quieter, 
yer see ; and presently she got her tongue, and 
cries out quite loud " Can't no un say a bit of 
a prayer ? " she says. 

" ' Then the youngster, as wus among us, 
just says " Kneel down," he did ; and we did 
all obey un, inside and outside th' entrance 
door, for, seemin'ly, he did take charge o' the 
whole lot on us as wus ther' same as if he'd 
been parson hisself. 

" ' And what 'er did say wer' summut arter 


this manner, for I reckons I've hear'd it up at 
Church, times. It wer' this as the merciful 
One 'ould look upon our 'firmities, and for the 
glory o' Hisn's name turn from all o' we, arl 
them evils as we deserved, and 'ould grant 
that in arl our'n troubles we meut put our 
whole trust and confidence in Hisn's mercy, 
and serve Un evermore in holiness and pure- 
ness o' livin'. Then un did start "Our Fadyr 
that art in Heaven, halloed be Thy Name " ; 
and some on us did join in, and some on us 
lacked courage, and turned off, like. And then 
ther' wus quiet ; and Mrs. Hunlo did run 
in, out o' breath, and took the widow away 
upstairs, she did, and bided wi' her for the 

" ' The youngster just looks up, arter that, 
and says as it weren't no use us a-bidin' ther' 
no longer. So someun brought un hisn's hat, 
and another un hisn's horse, as he'd been 
a-walkin' up and down to kep the chill out of 
un. And just then he turns towards the light, 
and says quite low, like a real gen'leman 
" Good-night to you all." 

" ' I sees who 'twus then, in a jiffy. I knew'd 
un. He wus off arter that to see Squire 
Oakley up at the Court ; and I says to them 
as wus round " I knows who the young hunter 


be, right enough. Why, that be Squire Gore's 
son, o' Denton Manor." 

" ' And shepherd he turns round, and says 
" Hunter, or no hunter, he taken charge o' we, 
mysterus fashion enough ; and I reckons he be 
fit for parson, from what I can judge." And 
at that, I just answers un, and says " He do 
feature his mother, that way, wi'out a doubt, 
for I've allus hear'd tell as she be saint." 

" Well, that is what happened," resumed the 
Squire; "and what I would not have had 
happen to Ainslie, for all the world. He did 
not get back here till after midnight, and was 
off again the next morning, to see if he could 
do anything to help ; and to-day, to give his 
evidence before the Coroner." 

The Squire's story was ended, and he rose 
from his chair and walked towards the window. 
In the silence that followed for a few minutes, 
my mind naturally turned to Ainslie, and the 
ordeal that such an experience must have 
meant to a nature like his. But when we met, 
two days later, all he said was " I would rather 
have told you myself, though I don't care to 
speak of it again. For the widow the position 
is terrible ; but just think of the agony of mind 
of that man before he came to do such a thing 
as that." 


Of course, after the manner of villagers, who 
learn things by means concerning which the 
rest of us know nothing, the whole story was 
soon all over Denton, and more especially the 
part that Ainslie had played. By the morbid- 
minded and these numbered many the fact 
that he had been mixed up in such a thing of 
horror was regarded as giving him additional 
importance. By the young men and boys he 
was worshipped more than ever, and from a 
healthy standpoint. But down at the little 
shop, standing with bare, folded arms behind 
her narrow counter, and drawing in her breath 
as she spoke, Susan Mantel summed it up this 
way " Staunch staunch ; same as Gores have 
allus been same as he'll be, whether his life 
be long or short you mark me ! " 

Ainslie was given his first commission in 
the spring of the following year, being gazetted 
to his County Militia while still at Eton. His 
father wished him to enter the Regular Service 
in this way, and for what appeared to him to 
be good reasons. 

" Of course," he said, " Ainslie can pass any 
examination he likes, and probably come out 
high on the list ; but what I want him to do is 


to mix with the young fellows of his own 
County, and for the older lot to get to know 
him. The regiment is a very good one, and 
there is scarcely an officer who does not hail 
from one or the other of the families round 
about. That is as it should be ; and moreover 
the commissioned ranks are a bit full and it 
has been a job to get him a place." 

The Squire's decision meant that we were to 
see less of each other for a time. It had been 
decided that I was to enter the Army through 
Sandhurst, so when once we had left Eton we 
met comparatively seldom, though we always 
kept touch by letter. 

We had both learnt a little of our drill as 
Volunteers, and had also studied the Red Book 
and fathomed the mysteries of the elementary 
portions of the same. But Ainslie decided 
later on that it would be well if he attended the 
School of Instruction at Wellington Barracks. 
He never did anything by halves, and was as 
keen about this as he had been about all the 
games. To perfect himself in drill was to 
perfect himself for all those duties that he 
would eventually discharge, and that were 
surrounded in his mind with a mystical halo of 
their own. 

And here a somewhat amusing incident 


occurred, that brought to mind the expression 
he had used on our last evening together at 
Eton. Application had been made for him to 
attend the course at Wellington Barracks ; but 
through some mistake he had received no in- 
structions up to within two days of the date 
when the class would open. He therefore 
went up to London, and the following morn- 
ing attended at the barracks to make in- 

On the parade at the moment, a battalion of 
the Guards was being drilled by their Sergeant- 
major, and looking on was the Colonel com- 
manding the School. 

"Oh ; so you want to attend the next class, 
do you ? " said this last, when Ainslie had an 
opportunity of going up to him. " Then why 
the dickens haven't you brought your orders ? 
What's the use of expecting me to know any- 
thing about them ? It's a War Office matter, 
not mine, and you had better go and find out. 
We begin to-morrow. What's your name ? 
Gore, is it ? Well, I know nothing about it ; 
and I think you are too late. But stay a 
minute : do you know anything of your drill ? 
Oh! a little. We'll soon see. Put your 
umbrella down against the guard-room ; never 
mind about a rifle ; and fall in in the leading 


company of this battalion : we will soon see 
what you know." 

The ordeal was no light one ; but in frock- 
coat and tall hat, and rifle-less, Ainslie, who a 
few weeks before had been the centre of interest 
to a crowd of many thousands at Lord's, fell 
into his place as number three in the front rank, 
and was drilled for upwards of an hour on 
Wellington Barracks' square. He came out of 
it well and was ordered to join the School, and 
when he told me the story he added 

" I really did feel nobody, then, I can tell 
you ; and moreover I had the fun, when we 
were standing at ease, of watching a goat slowly 
nibbling off the tassel on my new umbrella ! " 

The Squire laughed heartily when told the 
story. " Capital!" he said to me. "Doyousup- 

pose that Colonel did not know him? Of 

course he did : he was an Eton fellow himself, 
as most of them are there, and was probably at 
Lord's for the match. Snubbed him hand- 
somely, and then fell him in in the ranks ! 
Well well ; that's where the training comes 
in and the swagger is taken out of a boy. Not 
that Ainslie ever had a grain in his whole body: 
it is only those who can do nothing at all who 
swagger a lot." 



I WISH I had kept more of his letters : those in 
this bundle seem so very few. The best con- 
solation is that the earlier ones might not have 
interested many, the letters of our teens being 
generally hurried productions, written as if 
under protest, to satisfy the recipients that we 
are alive and then to be destroyed. 

For the most part, Ainslie's no doubt con- 
formed to the general rule ; but I can recall 
others that contained much of his individual 
self, being wholly unstudied and with the 
thoughts of the moment jotted down as they 
came uppermost. A few of these remain ; the 
loss of those others I deplore. They would 
have told so much more of him than I can hope 
to do, boys like men showing their true selves 
in their written, even more than in their spoken 
words, however much they may try, on occa- 
sions, to put their very best into both. Truth 
always springs to the fore and declares itself, 

here as elsewhere ; and if in this lies a con- 



venience to others, there is also in it, occasion- 
ally, something of inconvenience to ourselves. 
Lit era script a manet. 

Ainslie went to Germany for some months 
shortly after he left Eton, establishing himself 
at Leipzig, and living there alone during that 
winter and until the time arrived for him to 
return for his Militia training in the spring. 
His object in doing this was primarily to learn 
the language, but largely also to study music. 

" I have been out here for over two months 
now," he wrote to me at this time, " and 
live in the funniest house you ever saw, No. 8 
Post Strasse. There is no other lodger, or 
is there room for one, and I am looked after 
by a homely old Frau and her daughter also 
apparently by the police, who have bagged my 
passport and say I shall have it back if I am 
a good boy, and come and tell them when I 
am leaving. I occupy the upper floor. There 
is a corner for me in my sitting-room, but the 
rest is taken up by a piano, a stove, and a 
shrank to hold my clothes. I get to my 
diminutive bedroom from this by a glass door. 
The ceilings of both are very low. Every- 
thing is very low, except the roof, which is 
high and very steep ; and possibly if you were 
in the street at this moment, and I was to 


open one of the two small windows, I could 
shake hands with you without difficulty. You 
would not like the street just now, for two feet 
of snow lies there, and opening the windows is 
not exactly easy, as they are double, to keep 
out the cold. 

" Of course I am much alone ; but, as you 
know, that has no terrors for me. I work hard, 
walk harder, when the snow permits, and do 
a deal of listening to music. Haussman, of 
the Conservatorium, is very good to me, and 
so is Doctor Peschel, to whom I go daily for 
German lessons. The first is a refined, delicate- 
looking man who reads Dickens in German, 
and asks me how to pronounce the names of 
our friends of the Pickwick Club. The Herr 
Doctor is a man of vigour and few illusions, 
and is local correspondent of The Times. 

" But just think, dear boy I am only about 
four hundred yards from the church where the 
supremely great John Sebastian was organist, 
and actually go and hear the organ he played 
on and look up at the seat where he sat ! I 
think he will always loom as large as any man 
in my eyes, and because of the good he has 
done to the souls of innumerable men and 
must go on doing, for that matter, the most 
flawless creations in all higher forms of art 


being granted, like those souls I speak of, 
something of immortality. Fancy being able 
to do that and to acquire that, all of a go ! I 
don't mean, so much, the merely immortal 
reputation, but the other thing. 

"So, you see, what with the links with 
Bach, the music at the Gewandhaus, the 
operas at the theatre entrance, one mark 
and walking miles over the great battlefield 
of 1813, the various points of which I have 
fairly mastered, I am tolerably well set up. 
But my English books are few worse luck ! 
The chief among them is Bacon's Advancement 
of Learning, which I hate, but which I have 
to swallow with a number of others for the 
English Literature part of my exam. In the 
German tongue, I try to read Goethe, whom I 
love, and also Schiller, whom I reverence. 

" I wonder what sport you are having at 
home, and whether you are giving your sister 
the lead you should, or whether she is leading 
you as she shouldn't. I was quite right, you 
see, when I said I should not want a horse 
this season. But, dear me how I should like 
a gallop ! Mind you tell me, when you write, 
how you find my people. Just slip over there, 
like a good chap, and have a look at them. 
They both write cheerily ; but then you know 


they are not to be trusted, where their two 
dear old selves are concerned. 

" Only one thing more ; and don't tell any- 
body I like these Germans enormously. And 
you should just see their troops, their officers 
especially. The whole thing is so thorough 
and so professional, and also, where training 
is concerned, so desperately severe. It is all 
very well our talking as we do of things 
1 made in Germany.' I only wish we had 
the secret of the way many things in this 
country are made, and not by men's hands 
alone. Perhaps, however, they wish they had 
some of our secrets, too our system of 
athletics, for instance. I feel sure they do : 
so it's ' honours easy ' ! Good-bye. A. G." 

I have only two other letters of his belonging 
to this period, the first being dated in March 
of the following year, and running thus : 

" The snow has all gone, and things are 
looking up a bit. One of the big Generals of 
the place lives opposite, and it appears to be 
his right to have a regimental band to play to 
him in the morning, now and again. Peschel 
doesn't see much of me then ! It is too splendid 
to miss. There were sixty-three in the band 
I counted the other day they belonged to the 
, a Saxon Rifle Regiment. To listen to 


them is to feel that every man among them is 
really a musician, and plays his best because 
he loves it, as well as, what is more, because 
he understands it. I mean, he is not a 
machine, blowing with all the force of its lungs 
at a bombardon, and for its own individual 
glory, but a fellow who is intent on perfecting 
the general effect to the very utmost of his 
power, if also at the same time living in some 
dread of the conductor's spectacles ! 

" A really good, soldiers' band always gets 
inside me, and turns me inside out. You 
should hear these fellows, for instance, playing 
the Preislied in the Meister singer. You know 
the solemnity of parts of that, and also the 
sadness at least, I think you do, and will 
understand what I mean by this last. 

" The best music of the best of such bands 
has always, to me, this kind of refrain behind 
it. At the back of even the gaiety, there is 
something else the other side even though 
the tunes be jigs that make men feel inclined 
to dance. In the very volume of sound, the 
full tone, the carefully measured crescendo that 
ends with the silvery clash of the cymbals, 
there are strength and beauty, and also some- 
thing stirring ; and thus, such music, by these 
uni formed men, speaks to me always of that 



other side to which I have referred, and that 
is nothing less than the history that is embodied 
in a regiment's name its titles, its marchings 
over half the globe, the names emblazoned 
on its consecrated colours, the roll of those 
who lived their day in its ranks and laid down 
their lives in its track. 

" Just take this one the lOQth. They went 
to France for the great war of '7o-'7i. They 
stood three battalions strong, with, shall we 
say, something over eighty officers. I know 
some of the officers of the regiment now, and 
these have told me that when the regiment 
returned in the winter of '72, and marched once 
more through these streets, only four of the 
officers who went out two years before were 
present on parade. 

" That is the past, and that other side I 
speak of, and which is embodied, as I say, in this 
living thing this regiment, with its gay clothes 
and gay tunes ; that has its story writ in history, 
and looks with some steadfastness, amidst the 
laughter and the cheers, to make its sacrifices 
yet again in time to come ; to add another 
page to its records ; to put up yet another 
monument to its slain. That is what soldiers' 
bands always bring back to me ; and as I 
listen I dream dreams of things of which you 


and I know nothing yet of that other side, 
that you and I will some day know. 

" The snow here has all gone, and spring 
is coming. I picked the first cowslip in the 
so-called forest yesterday. There is a shallow 
stream there, but no trout ! It is only a big 
wood, and, as the ground is flat, it is featureless, 
like the rest of the country round here. But 
it all seems wonderfully familiar, with its oaks 
and ash and the golden-green catkins on the 
hazel, just as they are at home at this moment. 

" Nature is always beautiful, even in this 
uninteresting country, with its miles of un- 
dulating, unenclosed land, its straight, strategic 
roads, and ugly-coloured soil. There is nothing 
grand, of course, in any of it, if I except 
space and distance, two conditions that, to me, 
have always something grand about them, land 
or sea immeasurably grand if one looks sky- 
wards, night or day. 

" But, all the same, it is not the grand that one 
often wants ; and it is not always the grand 
in which one finds the greatest beauty. It is 
in the small things and the simple things that 
I, for one, find what I require most ; and 
beauty, in some form, is what we all look for, 
sooner or later. Indeed, I go further than that, 
and say that we were purposely so constituted 


as not to be able to live without it. It lies in 
our roadway at every yard, though we walk 
blind and may never see it. It is scattered all 
about our world with an infinitely wise prodi- 
gality, that we may meet with it when we most 
want it, that we may make it our own in the 
glad days as in those of Sturm und Drang. 

"But I must stop. You will think me grow- 
ing too serious, and so I am ; and you may 
think that I have been too much alone, and I 
have not. What is solitude to one is not so 
to another, and if I am alone, I have never 
yet known what it is to be lonely. Still, no 
doubt, it is long since I had a good laugh, and 
should like one with you, just as I should like 
many other things with you. It won't be long 
now, though, and I don't think I have wasted 
my time. If there is anyone about you who 
gives me a thought now and then, give them 
my remembrance and say I often think of 
them. Yours ever, A. G." 

His last letter to me from Leipzig was 
written a few days before leaving, and ran 
thus : 

" I am packing up that is, not merely putting 
clothes and boots and books and and and 
music into a box, but also saying good-bye 
to those I have come to know and to like here, 


for I still like these Germans and admire them 
more and more. They are not us, necessarily ; 
but they are very great ! The police have 
been duly called upon by me, and seem to 
think, after looking up the matter, that there 
is nothing particular against me, and that I 
may therefore have my passport the day after 
to-morrow. It is just in these directions that 
they are so unlike us. There is no real liberty 
or freedom, it seems to me, and a man may 
not even put a brass plate on his own door 
without the leave of these same armed police. 
It is all militarism and order, swords and 
uniforms ; everyone salutes everyone else, and 
even the scavengers take off their hats to one 
another. It is all right for them, with a possible 
enemy just across half a dozen borders : but it 
would not do in our old country, where every- 
one shoulders along, doing and saying pretty 
much what he likes, and where stoical, unarmed 
bobbies smile their good-natured smiles at the 

" I have just been looking at the dates. 
Are you aware that in little more than a year 
we may be in touch with the real thing ? 
First, comes this training in May. Then 
follows a spell of work and some cricket. 
In the winter, more work and perhaps some 


hunting. Then the training again ; then this 
exam. . . . and then . . . well ; you and I will 
be launched, with our names in the Gazette, 
and our dies cast. I think you may be a week 
or two behind me, only however to pass me 

" If my father manages what he believes he 
will, there will be no doubt about the regiment 
for us both. When my father takes a thing 
up, he generally runs it through. Of course, 
in working for us, he has his service behind 
him; but he also has, as they say, 'such a 
way with him.' It is not many who could 
resist his face, could they ? it's so good- 
humoured, so honest and open. You would 
wager any man with a face like that was 
true as steel ; and if, as I have often thought, 
there is a certain shyness in his manner, it is 
the diffidence of a real gentleman, and that 
pays ! 

"If I leave here on Tuesday, I shall be in 
London on Thursday morning, and at Denton 
the same evening. You should be home by 
now, so I will come over on the chance of 
seeing you on Friday afternoon. Will you 
please tell somebody that I have been paying 
especial attention to Chopin, and for very good 
reasons. I can't play him a bit, and come 


the most awful howlers over the Impromptu, 
Op. 29, and a good many more things besides. 

" The truth is, dear boy, I came from the 
company of a lot of mediocrities into the 
presence of a world of professionals. I was 
even fool enough to think, once, that I could 
play a little. I find now that I cannot play 
at all, so mind neither you nor anybody else 
asks me and certainly not in a formal way 
and on a formal occasion. Our music used 
to be great fun, when we strummed and sang 
and lolled about. I should like to go back 
to that. There is a time-worn adage dealing 
with such desires ; you know it, so I won't 
quote it. 

" I can't write to-day. How could anybody 
when they are packing up ; when the room 
that has contained them is in disorder, with 
large gaps in it, due in this case to the absence 
of my piano that is being at this moment 
engineered down the narrow staircase by five 
experts and out into the street? Presently 
it will be going up the street, like the remains 
of a departed friend, though, my dear fellow, 
not with prayers and chants, crosses and 
candles, but with the echo of Himmels and 
Welters and the strangest imprecations, from 
the throats of those whose whole lives are 


spent in moving heavy pianos up and down 
impossible stairways, and in and out of all the 
houses of this exceedingly musical town. See 
you soon ! Good-bye. A. G." 

I knew about the time to expect him on 
that Friday afternoon, and went half a mile 
through our woods to meet him. He soon 
appeared, at the other end of a grass ride, 
sitting slackly in his saddle and whistling a 
tune to himself. He had not altered a bit 
in the six months since we last met. There 
was the same outward cheeriness about him ; 
the same deep tone in his voice, and laugh 
in his clear, grey eyes. 

" How beautiful it all is!" he exclaimed, 
after an informal greeting between us. " The 
wild daffers are out in the hedges on our side, 
and here are all these masses of primroses 
making their appearance, with the palm at its 
very best on the black sallies. You can't 
think how it strikes one, after foreign parts 
and life in a great big town. The birds were 
singing this morning soon after five, and that 
got me up, and I have been out ever since. 
How is your sister ; and how are your people? 
All well that's good." 


Half an hour later we had had tea, and we 
three younger ones went off to amuse ourselves. 
The last half hour of sunlight was flooding 
the room to which we went through three 
large windows. At one end there was an 
exceptionally wide sofa covered with red chintz 
of bold design, and on this my sister flung 
herself, while Ainslie finished telling me some- 
thing about the look of the German soldiers 
that he had begun as we entered. 

The room is just as it was then, and I 
can see my sister lying back on that sofa 
now, with her hands folded behind her masses 
of dark brown hair, and Raeburn's portrait of 
her grandmother hanging just above her. She 
was dressed, that day, in some light material 
of a pale yellow colour that set off her tall, 
slim figure to perfection ; she being then not 
quite eighteen, and certainly very beautiful. 

Presently she got up from the sofa as if 
something had occurred to her; went quietly 
across the room, opened a piano at the farther 
end, and then went as quietly back to her 
place again. Ainslie half turned his head and 
smiled, bringing what he was saying to an end. 

" I didn't mean to stop you," came a voice 
from the sofa. " I was only getting things ready. 
Play us both something do." 


" For heaven's sake, not yet," returned 
Ainslie. " And if I must let's all play, and 
let's all sing, and let's all do just exactly what we 
used to do. Formality spoils half the music." 

"That's quite true," returned my sister; 
"but why consider it formal? Surely two 
people in a room can't make it that, or one 
added to them at a piano make up a formal 
concert. Besides, isn't this just the time for 
music ? Look, the sun is going down, and it 
is all peace outside." She had raised herself 
on the pillows and had dropped her arms on 
her knees. What a picture she made then ! 

The appeal and the picture together were 
too much for Ainslie, and he went across the 
room and sat down. I do not remember what 
he played, but it was exactly what was wanted 
at the moment. He kept the pedal down till 
sound had died away, and sat as if listening 
intently. " There is nothing to beat a Broad- 
wood grand like this, after all. This bass is 
magnificent," he said. 

" Sing something," came from the sofa again, 
the speaker having thrown herself back on the 
pillows, with her head turned to the nearest 
window that she might watch the sky. 

Ainslie laughed at the request. " I assure 
you I can neither play nor sing," he said. 


" Oh, sing something," I put in, going over 
towards a corner of the room behind him. " It 
doesn't matter what it is." 

Ainslie smiled and struck a chord or two. 
Then he began and, after playing a few bars, 
stopped. " That's the piano part I can't call 
it the accompaniment," he said. " Just listen 
to it. Of course it is part of a complete whole ; 
but to me it is more beautiful than the air 
or even the words, and I play it often for 

" I am not able to judge till I hear them : 
I will make up my mind when I do," said my 
sister, softly, a smile crossing her face. 

"Will you? Very well listen, then," said 
Ainslie, and without adding more began the 
accompaniment over again. It was Edward 
Grieg's Ich Hebe Dick, and the song runs in 
my head whenever I recall that spring evening. 

Du mem Gedanke, du mein Sein und Warden ! 
Du meines Herzens erste Seligkeit ! 
Ich liebe dich wie nichts auf dieser Erden, 
Ich liebe dich, ich liebe dich, ich liebe dich 
In Zeit und Ewigkeit, in Zeit und Ewigkeit. 

Ich denke dein, kann stets nur deiner denken, 
Nur deinem Gliicke ist mein Herz geweiht, 
Wie Gott auch mag des Lebens Shicksal lenken, 
Ich liebe dich, ich liebe dich, ich liebe dich 
In Zeit und Ewigkeit, in Zeit und Ewigkeit. 


Once again the pedal was left down, and 
silence slowly fell upon the room. I turned 
to look at my sister, and fancied there was a 
colour in her cheeks that had not been there 
before. The last of the daylight was waning, 
and perhaps I could not see plainly. 

" Here ; I must be going ! " exclaimed 
Ainslie, quite suddenly, jumping up from the 
piano. " It is getting dark." 

"How German you are!" came the voice 
once again from the sofa. 

The Militia training passed off without in- 
cident. Ainslie quickly won his way with his 
brother officers, many of whom had known him 
before ; the seniors nodding their heads to one 
another and remarking " He'll do." 

Then he returned to Denton for the summer, 
to work at his various subjects, to help his 
father and mother in many ways, and to play 
cricket with his village club. 

" Ther'll be doin's now, I can see, plain," 
remarked Bill Terret. " I could find of it as 
soon as ever the young Squire come home. 
Ther's to be a match agin Blifford, come 
Sat'day; and I've been a-axin' he whether 
he'd judge it well for I to take to round-arm. 


' No-a, no-a/ says he ' you kep on wi' yer 
under-hand : you does quite sufficient execu- 
tion with that as 'tis.' " 

" Wull," returned Sam Cook, the shepherd, 
" I reckons he be about right ther', an' as it 
'ould be a'most a pity to make a change till 
us sees how things goes on." 

I was away at Sandhurst during those 
months, the only letter of his that I kept being 
this : 

" Everything much as usual here. My 
mother always busy over a thousand different 
things, and working with positively amazing 
energy at each in turn. Her influence is won- 
derful, and the village folk appear to worship 
her more than ever. As to my father he 
continues all his County work, and, what with 
that and the estate, seems never to have a 
moment till the evening ; and even then he 
is often writing letters or trying to do accounts, 
when he ought to be in bed. I think the 
condition of things on the land tries him ; but 
ne never lets it out, except sometimes to de- 
plore the changes. 

" ' Half the pleasure of country life is gone, 
or going,' he said to me last night, 'and it is 
all becoming so different to what it was. Not 
so long ago they wanted me to come forward 


as one of these new County Councillors. Of 
course I said I had no objection, though I 
didn't believe the County work was going to 
be better done than it had been. But when 
they told me I must go round and ask people 
for their votes, in order to get this precious C.C. 
honour, I simply said that nothing would in- 
duce me to. If people liked to vote for me 
very well ; but I wasn't going begging to their 
doors after helping in the work for nearly 
thirty years. Anyway, they made me a County 
Alderman in the end, so there was no need of 
my going round, cap in hand. I hope every- 
body will be impressed ! ' Can't you imagine 
him saying that, and his amusement at the 
whole thing ? 

"You know we have given up preserving, 
and are turning out no pheasants this year. I 
doubt which is most melancholy Giles Merrett, 
when he looks at his coops stored in the sheds, 
or old Welfare, when he pokes his nose into 
his empty stalls and boxes. My father also 
intends to get our third man a place and leave 
Giles with only one under him. Of course it 
is all part of the general come-down; but 
neither the farmers nor the men like it. The 
first say that the pheasants never did them any 
real harm ; and do less, now that the land round 


the coverts is nearly all down to grass. They 
also declare that, in the keepers, they have 
staunch supporters in preventing trespass a 
matter of some importance with the orcharding 
everywhere and people, in these days, claiming 
rights of way where they have no right to be. 
As for the men on the place, these dislike it 
even more than the others. Our days in the 
coverts were holidays for them, with good 
money added, a good feed, plenty of cider, a 
trifle to be picked up for carrying cartridges, 
and what is dearer than anything in their eyes 
a rabbit to be taken home at the end of the 
day. So we are all the poorer, one way and 
another, and likely to become still more so. 

" Trappers are everywhere now, and hares 
are pretty well exterminated. I think the last 
is certainly a pity ; and it seems to me very 
poor form, all things considered. But it is no 
use dwelling on such things. Even you and I 
can remember when a farmer was glad to leave 
a bit of hand-reap stubble down the length of 
a wheat field, and where we could certainly 
find birds in September. We have come to 
days now when there is not only no hand reap, 
but precious little stubble of any kind. What 
there is, is shaven close to the ground. But 
what's the use of talking about it ; you know it 


all just as well as I do, and as my father says 
' It can't be helped, and we have got to 
accept it.' Depend upon it, it is harder for 
him than for us. 

"But here is something brighter than all 
this. A great event has happened in our 
family. My father's youngest brother my 
uncle John was married last year, and he has 
just had a son born to him, and I am to be 
godfather! My old father is delighted, and 
says ' Ah, John ought to have married long 
ago, since Robert never has, and never will 
now. I hope he will have a lot more : Gores, 
like other things we know of, aren't half thick 
enough on the ground not half ! ' 

" I am getting through a lot of work. My 
father suggests a tutor : but I can see my way 
to doing without, so say it is quite unnecessary. 
Why add to expense, where one can help it ? 
I say we beat Blifford the other day by an 
innings and two runs. I went out for four, a 
beast of a ball hitting me in the forehead and 
then taking my bails. The ground wants a 
little attention and I must be at it with a roller ; 
but a really bad ground equalises all players, 
and that is where the beauty of it comes in 
and the fun. 

" There was certainly fun in this case. The 


scorer, old Jimmy, was puzzled how to enter 
such a thing as my dismissal. Of course Bill 
came to his assistance, with ' Bowled horf the 
heye, o' course ; what more could anyun want 
to zee on scorin' sheet?' Jimmy screwed up 
his lips over his toothless gums, and still re- 
mained in doubt. We got it all right after a 
bit! Good-bye. Yours ever, A. G." 

There seems to have been little to mark the 
rest of that year or the earlier part of the next, 
so far as I can gather from other people, or 
recollect myself. I can recall many a day's 
shooting that September, when the Squire and 
Ainslie and I were out together over the 
Denton estate, the Squire leaving it to us, 
now, to do the outside of the beats, and taking 
short cuts himself. It was not a country suit- 
able for driving, and we always walked the 
birds, and sometimes took out a brace of 

I believe the Squire enjoyed those days as 
much as any in the year, especially as he could 
now no longer face the flats by the Severn, 
when north-easterly winds brought the snipe 
and there was a rim of ice along the reens. 
Such things as wading in the shallows when 
days were at their shortest waiting in the 
chilly dusk for the whistle of a mallard's wing 



at cockshut were not for him ; but at the 
same time he would often give us the most 
minute directions concerning the best course 
to follow, if bent upon such things ourselves, 
taking stock as he spoke of the direction of 
the wind, and looking up to see whether the 
sky held rain or snow. 

He always contended that true sport was 
never a soft job, and seemed to think that it 
would lose all source of enjoyment as well as 
training if it became so. He had contempt for 
luxury and every form of self-indulgence, and I 
remember his saying to Ainslie " I know, you 
as my son will never give way to anything of 
that kind, and that you hate the effeminacy of 
it as much as I do. But mind both of you 
always set your face against it you will grow 
up all the better men if you do." 

We were sitting in a row, at the moment, on 
a gate that Merrett had unhung and laid in the 
tussocky grass on the sunny side of a hedge, 
sharing a bit of bread and meat with the men 
during the half-hour we gave ourselves in the 
September days I speak of. The wide vale 
lay spread out below, with the Forest hills all 
blue to the west, and the sands of the Severn 
showing that the tide there was at dead low 
water. Ainslie was often very silent at such 


moments. He seemed to be taking stock of 
different points in the landscape, chewing a dry 
bent between his teeth ; occasionally looking 
up at "the domes of marble" in the high 
heavens, and no doubt thinking many things. 

Alice Grey was still to the fore when that 
winter came, and with her, and many mounts 
he was offered, Ainslie saw some of the best 
days of the season. He had a good eye for 
country, with beautiful hands on a horse and a 
picture of a seat, and thus many were glad 
to get him to ride a young one for them and 
asked him to dine and sleep at their houses for 
the purpose. It was so in my father's case, 
and Ainslie accordingly often spent a night at 
my home whether I was there or not, all of us 
being equally fond of him. 

Nor was it different elsewhere. He was 
accepted wherever he went and in whatever 
company he found himself, and I remember a 
very prominent personage in our County say- 
ing of him once in my hearing " I can't 
explain it exactly ; but there is coming about 
in young Ainslie Gore a kind of irresistible 
attraction. If he was my son I should feel 
that his universal popularity would prove to be 
one of his greatest dangers in life." 

All I can say myself is, that if there was a 


snare here, Ainslie certainly went scatheless, 
for he was totally unaware of the fact him- 

The Squire gave up hunting about this 
time, and talking of it some years later said 
to me " I might have come down to the 
proverbial old gentleman's cob ; but you know 
there was not much fun in that. So I just 
decided to have done with it altogether, and 
hung up my crops behind the door. Kept 
up my subscriptions to the various funds, of 
course ; had to do that for the credit of the 
place and Ainslie's sake, leaving him to take 
what change he liked out of it." 

There was something inspiring in the way 
that Squire Gore faced the growing difficulties 
and all he was trying to do. He had once 
wanted for nothing : he was now only able 
to maintain himself at Denton by his income 
from invested funds. For many a year, in 
former times, he had known what it was to be 
pocket-easy to be able to give away liberally ; 
to fill his house at all seasons ; to do this and 
to do that, without troubling himself about the 
cost. But the estate was now showing a heavy 
balance on the wrong side annually, and he 
was therefore using all his endeavours to cur- 
tail expenditure, and also to do what he had 


never done before to keep private accounts in 
detail, a task that puzzled him much. 

His neighbours in the County watched him 
with a smile of admiration, guessing also, 
perhaps, what he and his wife had partly in 
view in denying themselves as they were 
doing. Many of the tenants expressed regret, 
and then turned and looked at their own 
pockets and their several farms : at the same 
time they did not like to see a lowering of the 
standard of living in the case of their landlord ; 
it reflected in a way upon themselves. 

The labouring men, for their part, frequently 
compared notes over their ale, contrasting the 
present with the past, up at the Manor. The 
vein of their talk had often something of 
melancholy in it, and having expressed their 
feelings and their regard for the Squire and his 
good lady on such occasions as they sat, 
perhaps, and talked in the taproom of the 
Gore Arms usually brought their proceedings 
to an end after a prolonged silence, by plac- 
ing a considerable share of the blame on the 
wrong shoulders. 

Possibly Susan Mantel put it best into words, 
a good deal of gossip passing over that narrow 
counter of hers in the course of a year " For 
my part," she said, to her opposite neighbour, 


Mrs. Tull " it do seem as if one class wus 
going up in spite o' the times, and t'other 
class wus coming down 'cause o' the times. 
'Tis queer ; and if I can't seem to get beyond 
it, somehows, I can yet tell ye this, Mrs. Tull, 
as Gores ain't soon darnted no, that them 
hain't! Neither th' old Squire nor his good 
lady do give away less than they did used, in 
parish and about ; but Squire be far-sighted, 
an' his son be jus' everythin' to un. Zeed 'em 
pass last night, I did ; a-goin' by with the 
young un on the old un's arm, and I says to 
myself, Mrs. Tull, I says it be there lies the 
secret, I says ; and time do creep on for us 

Mrs. Tull had come across to buy three- 
pennyworth of dips. She wore a red and 
black check shawl, and a black cap with a frill 
to it. Her complexion was sallow and her 
neck was extraordinarily thin, and she was 
Susan's senior by some years. One of her 
thin hands was holding the door-post as Susan 
talked ; but when it came to her turn to put in 
a word, the bufHe in her breath, 1 as they called 
it here, prevented her saying much, and she 
contented herself therefore with nodding her 
head and repeating Susan's last words more 

1 A stammer. 


than once, before picking her way homewards 
across the muddy road " L-l-lies the secret ; 
an' t-t-time do creep on ah, well, to be 

I cannot do better, I think, than give here 
a part of one of the Squire's letters to his son, 
though it belongs to a year or two later than 
this, when Ainslie was many hundred miles 
away. The last paragraphs run thus : 

" I can assure you that there is no cause for 
the least anxiety on your part ; and the very 
last thing either your mother or I would dream 
of doing would be to cut down your allowance. 
How like you to think of that! I want you, 
on the contrary, to live in the way that you 
should, as heir to this old home of our family 
keep a good horse and win the regimental 
race ! I know what Denton is to you, and also 
what you are to us. The old home will be 
safe in your hands, and I can feel happy on 
that score. I am trying my best to keep 
everything up to such a standard, that when 
a change comes you can let things lie down 
for a year or two. 

" One point, however, I am quite sure of, 
and it is this that if, in trying to tide the 
tenants over these bad times by every means 
possible, and doing all that I want to do besides, 


we are hit even harder than we are now, 
nothing will ever make me go out of these 
doors to let a stranger in. Rents may go 
down, as they have already done in some 
cases, from thirty shillings an acre to twelve 
and sixpence altogether insufficient to cover 
the tithe, land tax, income duty, insurance and 
repairs or coppice wood may fall, as it has 
now done with us, from twelve and fourteen 
pounds an acre to three but I mean to stick 
it out, and so does your mother, if we have to 
take to one of the attics and live on bread and 

" I don't say this in any bragging spirit I 
hope I am not capable of that kind of form ; 
but that is what I feel. A family property is 
a trust, for the time being, of the man who 
holds it, and the duty of people of our class 
seems to me to be to continue to live among 
their own folk, in the homes where their for- 
bears have long carried on traditions still 
trying to do their best by those about them ; 
fighting out all that comes, and that will come, 
mind you, if I know anything of the times ; 
and without a particle of hesitation, much less 
fear if, indeed, I care to use such a word as 
that last at all. I must stop. I feel sure it 
will be all right indeed, my dear boy, I know 


it will. Ever your affectionate old father, 

There was nothing to mark the next few 
months. With the spring came the Militia 
training again for Ainslie, followed by a spell 
at his books and the examination. A few 
weeks later the news arrived that he had 
passed, his name appearing with others in 
alphabetical order, the examination not being 
competitive at that date. 

That same morning the Squire left for 
London, saying to Ainslie, with a broad smile 
on his good-humoured face as he wished him 
good-bye on the front-door steps " It won't 
do for us to run any risks in a matter of this 
kind. Of course there are many fine Regi- 
ments in our Service ; but there can only be 
one really for me and you. So I must just 
go up and see Sir Edward and one or two 
more, and remind them of their promises. 
And I shan't come back till I have squared 
it for you both. Ah ; the Regiment ! you 
should have seen them move in the old days 
seen them move ! " Then he was gone ; 
touching up the old horse and playing with 
the lash of his whip, with Welfare wreathed in 
smiles on the back seat of the dog-cart behind 


An official envelope made its appearance not 
long afterwards and Ainslie found himself 
gazetted to one of the most distinguished 
Regiments of the British Army, being subse- 
quently ordered to join the second battalion 
of the same overseas. 

The Squire was jubilant, and there was a 
quiet delight in the eyes of his wife. The 
break up that it meant in their small home 
circle affected them in different ways ; but 
numbers of the family had gone out from these 
walls on similar errands, and this new recruit 
was only one more added to a long list : it was 
all quite natural and as it should be. 



So we both stepped out into the world, and 
sought in our several ways to become men. 

Ainslie of course carried all his ideals with 
him, like some stock-in-trade upon which he 
had to maintain himself so many warm- 
blooded realities standing at his elbow ; not by 
any means mere fantasies, but to become daily 
more definite to be attained, captured, made 
his very own. And if his aims were high, he 
sought to make the tools he worked with fit for 
such purposes, just as he continued ever to 
believe that all things he was brought into con- 
tact with were capable of being made the best 
of their kind, or at least in some way better 
than they were. 

" I often think," he said to me once "that 
by the beauty given to us so freely on every 
hand, Nature sets a standard for us who pose 
as masters here. It is true that this beauty is 

often hidden from us that is, in the sense that 



it demands search, not to mention many other 
things besides. But there are two further 
points to do with it that never fail to appeal to 
me. The first is that in Nature's world beauty 
is nearly always progressive from the seed to 
the flower and the fruit ; and the other, that it 
increases the closer we come to it and the more 
we strive to make it our own. 

" I believe it to be very much the same with 
ourselves. Beauty in some form is implanted 
in every one of us, and we are meant to search 
for it, to bring it out, to use it and to perfect it. 
You may call it my philosophy, if you like ; but 
don't forget that all Nature is just the manifes- 
tation of one great truth after another. And if 
that is so, and purpose is inherent in the whole, 
it seems to me pretty feeble for us men not to 
realise the fact, instead of being content to sit 
with folded hands or to trudge along with aim- 
less feet. Depend upon it there must always 
be continual progress and reform progress 
towards a more perfect beauty the cleansing 
of what is inherently false and wrong. And 
hence there comes about this that behind 
beauty, in whatever form, there is the beckon- 
ing finger; the claim for distinct aim, even 
though we catch at phantoms and be babies 
crying for the moon ! " and he broke into a 


laugh as if to cover the seriousness he had 
thrown into his sentences. 

Certainly his aims lent immeasurable zest to 
his life, giving him happiness of a kind not 
often met with. As the years of manhood 
opened, enthusiasms appeared to radiate from 
him more and more. He seemed to find the 
world a happy place ; and in one of his letters 
I find him writing as to this 

" Life is the finest of all sports, if you come 
to look at it closer. You have never to travel 
far for opportunities and you can always hunt 
them, not forgetting that they have a trick of 
sometimes hunting you. And if that looks 
enigmatical, it is not so much of an enigma as 
it seems. You at least will not think that I 
forget the serious side. I certainly do not ; 
but I think that reference to it is best kept in 
the background. By over-emphasis it is apt to 
get blunted, and may easily turn to something 
not quite so becoming. 

" It is precious difficult, I know, for some of 
us to call always for the merry tune and to 
drink deeply of the many wines of life : I often 
find it so myself. But all the same, keep the 
merry tune running in the head, and fill the 
chalice with the richest to be purchased ay, 
and slap up to the brim ! Neither will ever 


mar or stain, and you will find happiness in 
both it will come to you from both sides, too, 
the serious no less than the gay. 

" I came across this the other day, when 
reading the life of Pasteur, and give it you in 
English ' Happy the man who carries within 
himself a God, an ideal of beauty, and who 
obeys it : the ideal of art, the ideal of science, 
the ideal of Country, the ideal of Gospel virtues 
these are the living springs of great thoughts 
and great deeds.' 

" You and I are not likely to give the world 
great thoughts or to be guilty of great actions, 
the capacity to do either being the endowment 
of the merest fraction of mankind. But that is 
no reason why we should not possess our little 
hopes and have our little aims, and be as happy 
in their possession as the giants we read of, 
hear of, and very rarely see. We can't be 
great. We know that, right enough. Our 
place is with the rank and file. But because 
we are insignificant, there seems to me to be 
all the more reason to begin with ourselves 
and to furbish up the little talents that we have." 

Ainslie was gazetted to the Regiment about 
two months before me, and went through the 


ordeal of joining it alone. " You know when a 
single hound is thrown out," he wrote to me, 
shortly afterwards "all the pack growl at him 
as a stranger when he returns, and look as if 
they'd eat him. Well, joining isn't quite as 
bad as that, so far as I am able to judge, for 
the fellows here are naturally rather a picked 
lot and don't therefore either growl or look as 
if they'd eat me. Indeed, some go out of their 
way to give me a hint or two, and help me to 
find my way about. I can see that I have got 
it all to learn, and of course this first go off is 
rather overpowering. For one thing, the last 
joined are somewhat ignored ; and for the first 
year or more their voices are not reckoned to 
be heard in the mess-room. ' Seen and not 
heard ' is the rule ; and in this seeing on the 
part of others lies the judging all the time, 
while in the holding of your tongue we all know 
there is virtue. 

" To become one of a great Regiment seems 
to me like suddenly becoming a member of 
a great family, and heir at once to all its 
traditions. It is a new home, peopled by those 
you have never seen before, and several among 
whom are distinguished. To walk in therefore 
at the front door labelled, here, Officers' Mess 
simply, my dear fellow, makes one quake. 


But, after all, much depends upon oneself. If 
you behave as you should, there is nothing 
to be afraid of; if you are a fool, you will 
be treated as such and deserve it. A fellow, 
for instance, joined here last year, and strolling 
into the Orderly Room where the Colonel 
had just been dispensing justice, put out his 
hand, saying ' How do, Colonel ; think we've 
met before.' So some of his brother subalterns 
took him down to the back yard in his night 
attire that evening, and having pointed out the 
tap against the wall, ordered him to take his 
seat there and turn it on. Served him right, 
I think : too much side ! They say he is 
becoming a first-rate fellow now, though he 
did not surrender to the first tap. 

" Then again, if one is always having one's 
measure taken by brother officers, you may 
depend upon it you are being also pretty 
closely fitted by the men perhaps even more 
closely. Sooner or later, I fancy, you will 
stand out before them in just the clothes to 
suit you, and no others. A fellow, here, said 
to me the other day ' You can't be too 
particular about all you do before the men. 
Remember, they are always watching you, 
especially at first ; and what is more, they 
are perpetually comparing notes. The result 


is that they come to a decision about you at 
once, and probably know more about you in 
three days than you do about yourself.' 

" I like that ; and though the verdict may 
be very different to what we believe or think 
it ought to be, it is certain to be fairly just. 
We are always too jolly sure of our mental 
estimate of ourselves. In this case, however, 
we shall probably find out the truth of the 
verdict passed upon us, when the supreme 
hour arrives and there is a check instead of 
a bound forward. Fail to win these fellows' 
hearts, and they will fail you, and fail them- 
selves through you don't forget that : win their 
hearts and their confidence at the same time, 
and they will follow you to well, blazes ! 
The real remedy, I think, is to be a gentleman 
at all times ; and there is no surer judge of 
a gentleman, especially if he is country-bred, 
than Tommy, the gentleman, himself." 

A long, whitewashed building in the full 
blaze of a Southern sun, with three intermin- 
able rows of windows all set deep in the wall 
and all alike fitted with green jalousies. To 
right and left and somewhat to the front, two 
square blocks of similar design these being 



known as the North and South Pavilions, or 
Officers' Quarters, and the whole, as The South 
Barracks. Set right in the centre of the long, 
main block, and approached by a flight of ten 
much-worn steps, is the principal entrance, 
with other similar, though smaller, ones at the 
extremities of this white, featureless erection 
that remains much as when the Spaniards set 
it up and the great fortress of Gibraltar was 

To one side of the main gateway stands 
a sentry, under the shelter of his " sentry's 
umbrella," with his beat along the front trodden 
smooth by unknown feet for untold years, and 
having the whole wide parade to himself this 
suffocating August day. No one who can 
help it is moving anywhere : the pitiless sun 
is too fierce and the time of day quite wrong. 
Only those are abroad who have to be, and 
even they are very few this corporal of the 
guard going his rounds with his relief of two 
men ; this Spaniard on his mule, shuffling 
along in the dust of the broad road skirting the 
parade his panniers filled with oranges, toma- 
toes, bananas, and a green and a yellow melon 
or two, his face burnt to dark copper, and his 
eyes screwed up in the glare under his broad- 
brimmed, black Spanish hat; this scrap of a. 


boy bugler who comes out on to the flat at the 
top of the central steps and wakes up the echoes 
by sounding the quarter for defaulters, and 
then disappears into the dark, cool shade to 
repeat his call at the back of this great building. 

The echo of the bugle notes are repeated 
elsewhere and come back from far " Oh, 
come to your mother, you poor little beggar ; 
oh, come to your mother, dear boy." One 
wonders, watching this child, if his notes should 
carry to England, whether his own mother has 
a thought for him there. This scrap would 
scorn such sentiment, and possibly remark, 
" Not much ! " if you asked him. 

But meanwhile his music and that of others 
at this hour find echo here from rocks burnt 
dry as pumice, and hot, silent cliffs that never 
cool at this season, rising high into the blue 
heavens to a height of 1400 feet right up in 
some places from the level of an even bluer 

Vegetation seems to be practically destroyed, 
save for the palmettos, the taller palms, the 
bella sombras and the pepper trees, the giant 
poinsettia bushes, and the castor oil plants 
with their shining leaves spread out flat in the 
everlasting glare. There are no longer any 
flowers the hot rocks and the fierce sun alike 


have said their " No." Four months ago there 
were crimson Barbadoean aloes all along the 
paths at the foot of the slopes, with beds of 
pelargoniums, the many - coloured hibiscus, 
white daturas, clambering purple bougainvillaea, 
irises and arum lilies even small patches of 
green grass flecked with yellow stars. But 
then the heat grew greater daily ; the air dried 
up the scanty soil; and the scorching sun 
came over the heights above to glare at the 
face of this great, giant Rock for ten to twelve 
long hours daily, till at last it went behind the 
purple hills across the bay and its glassy sea, 
leaving men and plants alike flagging a little 
more, waiting as best they might for months 
for the long-delayed coming of the rains. 

Ainslie and I were sitting in his quarters in 
the South Pavilion, his single window looking 
out towards the great barracks, with the steep 
slope of the burnt-up Rock behind them 
dazzling white walls, grey barren rock, a sky 
almost sapphire blue, a shade temperature of 
anything over 95, and the silence of afternoon 
broken only by stray bugle calls and the eternal 
buzzing of flies. 

We had been nearly three years on the 
Rock, with only one spell of leave in the time. 
In a few months more the Regiment would be 


going home, and we had been talking of that 
and what these years had brought us, till at 
length Ainslie had fallen asleep in his chair. 
He had come off guard soon after six that 
morning, which meant in this instance that he 
had spent the night in his clothes and the 
previous twenty-four hours in the ditch of the 
fortress at the Waterport, finding what comfort 
he might in ;a low, arched casemate, chiefly 
occupied by an obsolete gun, and tenanted at 
night by an innumerable company of rats. 

He was lying back at the moment dressed 
in a thin pair of white trousers and a white 
silk shirt, open at the neck and turned up at 
the sleeves. His legs were crossed, and one 
arm had dropped, till the hand rested on the 
cane matting on the floor. His face was no 
longer that of a boy ; it had become stronger 
and fuller of character. His frame showed 
equal change. He had developed greatly. 
The figure was as loose knit as formerly, but 
it had become far more powerful, squarer, and 
with every muscle perfectly attuned. 

His appearance had always attracted atten- 
tion ; few passed him now without looking 
twice, for with manhood early manhood 
though it still was had come increasing good 
looks, a certain natural dignity of carriage, and 


a charm of manner that was little less than 
captivating to people of all ages and both 
sex. Everyone knew him here ; all liked him 
for his simple ways, his geniality and good- 
humoured readiness on all occasions ; and 
many loved him, where traits of character had 
been discerned that were shown to very few. 

If anyone ever had chance of being spoilt 
Ainslie Gore had here ; but his very natural- 
ness seemed to be a bulwark against anything 
of the kind, and in this brilliantly happy period 
of his life he remained the simple-hearted being 
of many talents, who lived his days in the sun- 
shine, brimful of the joy of life, keen to excel 
in all he undertook first, in the case of his 
profession, and then in all those many interests 
which he either created for himself or with 
which he had been naturally endowed. 

Such a personality as his was certain to be 
surrounded by temptations from which more 
ordinary men are wholly free. He could, for 
instance, do many things that others could 
not, and do them very well, and for this reason 
he was in some quarters 'courted and made 
much of, as well as flattered not a little. At 
first he never noticed it. As soon as he did, 
he laughed at it all as a joke : the snare had 
lost its power to harm him then. Had he, 


however, been inclined to succumb to the 
many dangers that waylaid him, there was an 
all-sufficient antidote in the system existing in 
his famous Regiment. He had joined with 
what many might have thought the highest 
of credentials, as a former member of the 
Eton Eleven. But when the cricketing season 
opened here, with the customary match of a 
regimental team against the next twenty-two, 
that new-comers might show their form, Ainslie 
was relegated to the twenty- two, while I, a 
poor performer, was placed for the nonce in 
the eleven. 

We never got him out that afternoon, on the 
level stretch of sand and scanty turf lying 
between the two seas at the North Front, 
the match being long afterwards referred to 
by reason of a remark he made. He was not 
sent in to bat until several wickets had fallen, 
and was perfectly well aware that he was on 
his trial. There was a quiet smile on his face 
when he reached the wicket that reminded me 
of earlier days, and I felt confident therefore 
what would come. He just looked round at 
the field, and then in the same over, hit a six 
and two fours in three consecutive balls from 
the best regimental bowler. 

" I'm awfully sorry," he said, when he had 


run the last out, and as if almost indignant 
" but I can't help it, if you will keep bowling 
me half-volleys on my legs ! " Point heard it 
and passed it on to his cover when "Over" 
was called ; and so it went the round of the 
field and some laughed. 

Ainslie naturally always played for the 
eleven after that, as everyone knew he would 
from the first. His being placed in the twenty- 
two had possibly been meant as a reminder 
that, here, everyone began at the bottom, 
irrespective of his position elsewhere, and no 
matter who he was or had been. No doubt 
we grew in time quietly proud of some of his 
performances with the bat ; but there was 
rarely any applause or patting on the back 
amongst us, the view taken being that the 
individual worked for the credit of the whole, 
and not for the eleven or the side only, but 
more especially for the Regiment. The suc- 
cess of the individual thus became, by general 
consent, merged in the doings of the rest, just 
as it might, for instance, when the matter in 
hand would be very different when honour 
called for straightest leading, and tradition 
claimed her final sacrifice. 

Sport of all kinds was encouraged amongst 
us, and in our Colonel at the time we had a 


man who was well fitted to lead. He came 
of a great family ; he had seen much service : 
and now in these later years of his command 
had set himself to make his battalion all that 
it should be, from top to bottom. In this way, 
and being unmarried, as in fact we all were 
at this period, it was his custom to have his 
younger officers much with him, and on Sunday 
afternoons especially, two or three of us would 
accompany him in a climb to the highest points 
of the Rock, or go with him for a long walk 
elsewhere. On parade he was severe ; but at 
other times, while there was never any famili- 
arity, he was, out of doors, just one of us, 
joining the rest in everything. No truer, 
cleaner-hearted man ever wore uniform, and he 
made the Regiment, in one sense, what it was 
a happy family. 

Being a wise man, our Colonel never showed 
favouritism. He was very quick in forming 
his opinions. For Ainslie he had a great 
liking from the first, and also thought highly of 
him, professionally. Years afterwards, he said 
to me " He was a dear good fellow and one 
of the smartest officers I ever had, and I 
always hoped to make him my adjutant. He 
had brains, you see ; and his ultimate success 
was certain at least, I always thought so." 


When Ainslie first joined and came out to 
the Rock, the hunting season was in full swing 
with the Calpe hounds, and having been brought 
up to such pursuit from childhood, he set to 
work at once to find a horse. It was a point 
of honour in the Regiment that all should hunt 
when not on duty, and as the first and second 
whips of the pack were two of our number we 
generally mustered in great force. 

The country was strange after the Berkeley 
vale, whether in the Cork Woods or the 
Alcadeza Crags. There was no fencing, and 
crossing cultivated ground was strictly for- 
bidden. But if much of it was impossible 
riding, there was always a far better chance of 
breaking neck and limbs than in any country 
in England, and ample room for horsemanship 
and daring in this jolly company of soldiers. 
Mounted on " General Prim " and properly 
turned out, as most of us were, in a red coat, 
Ainslie was rarely absent on the two days a 
week that hounds were out. He rode quietly 
and well, in a field that contained many good 
men, and just before the season closed, was 
fortunate one day in confirming the opinion 
that some had formed of him. 

It came about in this way. Tropical rain 
had been falling, and the field had dwindled to 


a score, when we found ourselves in a country 
scarcely rideable for its steep crags and boulder- 
strewn slopes. Ainslie had learnt something 
of the science of hunting on the days when he 
had handled the Eton beagles, and being totally 
fearless, had on this occasion, and when hounds 
were running, come down the well - known 
Devil's Staircase in the Alcadezas, to find him- 
self at the bottom alone with the hounds. For 
a moment in the valley, they were at fault ; 
but making a cast forward and hitting off the 
line, Ainslie had already run into his fox when 
the huntsman as reckless a rider in this 
country as might be seen reached him, with 
"Well, well, Sir! wherever did yer learn 
that, then?" 

Nobody said much to Ainslie at the time, 
whatever they may have said among themselves. 
The Master, who hailed from the Bicester 
country, looked at him, and contented himself 
for the moment with a grunt of approval ; but 
when the next season opened, Ainslie was 
charged with the important duties of earth- 
stopper, an office in a country such as this 
involving much work on non-hunting days. Of 
course he threw his whole heart into it, that 
the sport here might be improved ; and so 
keen was he on many occasions that he was 


regarded by some as being almost as good as 
a terrier in drawing a fox, his hands bearing 
many scars in consequence. 

It was no uncommon sight, when a gallop 
had ended in a run to ground, and much 
time had been expended with crowbar, pick 
and shovel instruments always brought into 
the field by his assistant, ex-Gunner Jim for 
Ainslie to go half to ground himself, leaving 
little showing but his boots. And on one 
occasion, when the tongs were missing from 
Jim's miscellaneous outfit, I well recollect his 
being pulled out from a hole, bringing with 
him, to the amusement of the field, the fox 
himself gripped tightly by the cheeks. 

Ainslie ran his horse that year in the regi- 
mental steeplechase, but failed to win a place. 
He had expected nothing else, " General 
Prim " having had a hard season and being 
little better than a bag of bones. But that 
race must be won, and the possibility of win- 
ning it became from this time forward one of 
the dearest wishes of his heart, no less than the 
wish of his old father at home. 

It was not a question of money and buying 
the best horse, with somebody else to train it 


and yet another to ride, the conditions being 
that the horse entered should have been 
regularly hunted by the owner during the 
previous season, and be ridden in the race 
either by the owner himself or a brother officer. 
There were no stakes. The winner had his 
name engraved on the cup, and the last man 
in had to stand champagne at dinner to the 

That summer Ainslie took short leave more 
than once, and visited Tangier, trying horses 
there with me on the sands at three o'clock in 
the morning on one occasion, though without 
purchasing. Then he went to Seville, and 
finally finding what he wanted at Jerez, 
christened his new mount "Jerezano." The 
new horse was no beauty ; few of the Spanish 
horses of that date being much to look at. He 
could jump, and under Ainslie's tuition was 
taught to jump better, his owner, moreover, 
never sparing him when hunting began and 
his duties as earth-stopper made heavy de- 
mands upon his stud. I do not think the 
desire to win the race had often been absent 
from Ainslie's mind, when February came 
round again and the Meeting was fixed for the 
last three days of the month. He knew that 
he would have two of the best jockeys in the 


Service against him, and that " Jerezano" was 
not thought fast enough to win ; but if he was 
beaten well, so let it be : he would try again. 

The course was laid out in the neighbour- 
hood of Campamento, advantage being taken 
of a stream at the bottom of a rocky gully for 
the water jump, and the fences being either 
built-up banks or constructed of telegraph poles 
and hurdles interlaced with gorse. Ainslie had 
two mounts on the first day and one on the 
second, scoring one win. When the time 
arrived for what was, to us, the principal 
event on the card on the third day of the 
Meeting, nineteen horses went to the post a 
crowd that was certain to be thinned at the 
first four fences. 

Ainslie's place was second from the left, if 
I recollect rightly, for he remarked to me 
" A poor place ; nine horses out of ten swerve 
to the left, so we must look out." 

The remark proved prophetic. At the very 
first fence, his neighbour changed the spot 
more than once at which he meant to take it, 
necessarily communicating his indecision to, his 
horse and upsetting the field behind him. The 
final result was that he cannoned into Ainslie 
just as " Jerezano " was landing, and threw both 
horse and rider to the ground. Nor did mis- 


fortune stop here, for in getting up " Jerezano " 
struck his rider in the face, cutting one lip 
badly and knocking out a tooth, before making 
off on his own account. 

Ainslie was quickly on his feet, and his 
horse as quickly caught by Jim the earth- 
stopper, who, report said, had backed him 
heavily. Once more in the saddle, his face 
now smothered in blood, it looked for a mo- 
ment as if all hope for him was at an end, 
especially as the rest of the field were already 
approaching the second fence ahead. But 
calling " Let go ! " Ainslie set out on his 
stern chase, "riding " as Jim subsequently con- 
tinued to repeat many times "that cool an' 
quiet like, an' for all the world as if nothin' 
hadn't happened to un, bless yer. Ther', I 
knew'd he was a right un ; course I did ! " 

Such a lead was not to be overhauled in a 
minute ; but slowly and surely, Ainslie con- 
tinued to creep up, till just after passing the 
Stand for the first time, and amidst the re- 
sounding cheers of the company, he reached 
his horses. It was anybody's race after that, 
five horses being still together at the last 
fence but one. The favourite, " Saracen," drew 
out when this had been negotiated, with 
" Jerezano " lying just behind him, There was 


a fall in the ground all the way to the last 
obstacle, and the rider of " Saracen " con- 
tinued to put on the pace, while "Jerezano" 
was being obviously steadied by his jockey. 
The two were not more than a length apart 
when they landed into the straight. Then 
Ainslie sat down and rode for all that he was 
worth, the verdict of the judge a moment later 
being " * Jerezano/ by half a length." 

The win was popular, for all reasons ; and 
one visitor who had come out to the Rock in 
his yacht, and who was known on many a 
course in England, was heard to remark after- 
wards to his Excellency, the Governor " I 
have seldom seen anything prettier than the 
way in which that boy, if I may call him so, 
steadied his horse for the last fence it was 
the boy that won the race, not the horse ! " 

But while such doings naturally brought him 
into prominence in the society of the place and 
he became well known among the officers of 
the different corps of the Garrison, he had also 
been, from the first, gradually acquiring a 
position in the minds of the non-commissioned 
officers and men of his own corps. To begin 
with, when he joined he knew his drill perfectly, 
and instead, therefore, of being two months on 
the barrack square under the drill sergeant, 


was dismissed the first day and put on the duty 
roster. It is true that the senior Major, not 
being able to credit such proficiency, had, 
when in command of the parade, endeavoured 
to stump him by setting him problems to be 
solved there and then by moving the men ; but 
he altogether failed, and the men themselves 
took due note of the fact. 

Then again, he was gifted with an excellent 
word of command, his voice being extraordin- 
arily clear and carrying far, with a perfect 
grasp of that subtle point, interval, and without 
any trace of hesitation. As time went on, he 
was now and then to his infinite delight 
deputed to take the adjutant's parade, the men 
working beautifully under his hand on these 
occasions, and this being no idle assertion on 
my part, but a fact noted by all of us at the 

Perhaps they felt they knew him, in the 
same way that he was getting to know and to 
understand them their light-heartedness and 
generosity, the spirit and the sterling qualities 
that distinguished the large majority of them, 
the pitfalls that surrounded them. He had 
the rare faculty of never forgetting a name, 
and as an Eton boy it had been the amusement 
of his school-fellows to get him to stand at the 



door and name those who passed along the 
street an achievement in which he was rarely 
at fault, being also generally able to add the 
boy's house and the name of his tutor. So 
here, with as many as three hundred on these 
parades, he was often able to call a man by 
name, and if it was a common name to add 
the letter of his Company. 

I know that he was always thinking of the 
men, and while being too junior in rank and 
service to initiate fresh departures himself, he 
was at the disposal of anybody at any time, in 
such entertainments as " Sing-songs " and Regi- 
mental theatricals. Comic songs were some- 
what painful things to him, but he was content 
to remain at the piano for the greater part 
of the evening, playing accompaniments and 
bringing some refinement into them, checking 
vulgarity of all kinds at rehearsals, and now 
and then singing a really fine song himself or 
playing something "just to raise the standard 
a bit." The men grew to know him exactly, 
and were perfectly aware that, with him, any- 
thing of coarseness was hateful, just as was 
obscenity and bad language. He never rated 
a man or abused him when he heard anything 
of the kind ; but his eyes would darken, and 
throwing his head somewhat back, he would 


say quite quietly " I wish you would drop 
that while I am here and also when I'm 


" Of course you and I can't do much," he 
said to me one day. "This place may be, in 
some ways, the best quarter out of England 
for us ; but just look at it for these fellows. 
They are simply cooped up here within the 
narrow limits of the town and the two main 
roads, being never even allowed up the Rock, 
much less off it. Then, look at the never-end- 
ing round of guards and sentry-go, as often as 
not giving them no more than four nights in 
bed, and in a climate like this, with every 
devilry round the corner waiting for them to 
their ruin. Can you wonder at the drink and 
these eternal fines, and what a pass till mid- 
night sometimes means in the morning ? I tell 
you, I often feel half ashamed in going through 
the barracks in hunting kit, or when riding 
out, as we all do, into the country." * 

I cannot hope to record each of his many 
schemes as time went on, and how he narrowly 
escaped getting into trouble himself through 
his outspokenness on several occasions. He 

1 It is fair to say that the conditions mentioned here are now 
greatly modified. At the date spoken of Gibraltar was guarded 
as though besieged, five officers and many hundreds of men 
being on guard daily, besides pickets and other details. 


learnt here by making mistakes, as he had 
learnt in his home in earlier days ; and if now 
and again his actions were misunderstood, he 
had a happy way of enlisting the sympathy of 
those in authority, approaching them with that 
irresistible manner of his, and laying his 
suggestions before them in such a manner that 
the initiative might appear to be theirs when 
the proposals finally took form. 

It would be wholly false, if not indeed ridicu- 
lous, to suggest that the improvements in the 
general lot of the soldier on the Rock at this 
time were primarily due to him. Reform was 
in the air, and he merely chanced, having 
always been something of a reformer, to be- 
come one of the active agents in what was 
going on, and occasionally to take the lead. 
" I don't know much about cooking," he would 
say, with a merry laugh and a twinkle in his 
eye " except what I learnt in the boys' kitchen 
at my Dame's, inferno of an evening that it 
was ! They say we have got to begin with the 
men's stomachs make a change in the baked 
and boiled on alternate days, and give them 
something more than the bowl of stewed tea 
and bit of bread between dinner one day and 
breakfast the next. I am all for that ; but my 
line will be to get up their appetites outside, 


so that they may do justice to the fare when 
they return ! " 

He had, from the first, taken to play with and 
coach the men of his Company at cricket and 
football ; being something more than a pro- 
ficient at both games. He was also one of 
those who worked at this time for boating to 
be allowed, and permits to be given for fishing. 
Once again, he could play an efficient part 
here, and could prove himself to be a better 
man than nine out of ten he met, though 
always unconscious of this himself. The in- 
fluences of his Eton life came to the fore, and 
what he had learnt in the historic Playing 
Fields and on the placid waters of the Thames, 
was bearing fruit in the pitiless summer glare 
of this great Rock and the blue waves that 
laved its feet. 

In one other direction, however, he was 
certainly personally responsible for what was 
a new departure here. The Regiment was 
lying in the Casemate Barracks, and the wide 
ditch of the inner lines of the fortress boasted 
there some scanty soil. With the permission 
of those in authority he started gardening for 
his Company. There were three things, he 
knew, that never failed to appeal to the man 
in the ranks, and if the first two were children 


and dumb animals, the other was undoubtedly 
a garden, even though the ground available 
were merely a few feet in extent. So the old 
truth, that the first thing an Englishman does, 
the world over, is to make himself a garden, 
received further confirmation here, and from 
Ainslie's small beginnings and the prizes 
offered in his Company, gardening came into 
general fashion on the Rock. 

The whole length of that wide ditch at the 
Casemates held, in course of time, a continuous 
series of miniature gardens, neatly bordered 
by the whitewashed stones that are always a 
part of the business, and the stern lines of the 
fortifications were changed. People riding in 
from the country would stand on the draw- 
bridges and look, before passing into the 
tunnelled ways giving access to the fortress ; 
and what they saw was a number of men in 
their shirt-sleeves, either contemplating, pipe 
in mouth, the result of their efforts to grow 
Sutton's vegetable seeds in Gibraltar, or tend- 
ing such flowers as the sun suffered to live on 
this shady side of the great walls with bird- 
cages hung here and there on nails, and the 
smaller children brought out from the stifling 
heat of the congested married quarters to play 
where they had never been before. 


Ainslie was often down there himself in 
an unostentatious way, full of cheeriness, and 
evincing the keenest interest in all that he was 
shown. The old ideals were as strong in him 
as ever : in these gardens there was an appeal 
for beauty, just as in children's gardens on the 
sands of the sea shores of far off England, and 
beauty, the great civilising agent, would make 
answer mutely. What was being done here 
was not much, yet it would tell up in the 
greater whole. Barrack life was necessarily 
rough, with men in hundreds, crowded by 
twenties and thirties into dark and unlovely 
rooms. It could hardly be otherwise, ap- 
parently. But each individual digging and 
planting here would gather something. Each 
was a unit in a greater whole, and a still 
greater whole beyond that. And the one and 
the other were capable of being made better by 
those influences that were at work here, now 
and always and that were even more potent 
than that spirit of discipline and obedience, 
whose business it was to prepare for the great 
and, it might be, final call. He would often 
talk to me in such a strain, and with that 
touch of seriousness that had been always a 
part of him. 

Sometimes, when he looked round these 


men's gardens, he would purposely bring a 
lady or two with him, that at least some of the 
men might hear the sound of a lady's voice. 

" Come along and see our gardens " he 
would say to these " You must come ; and 
when you get there you must say a word to the 
men. Don't forget that these fellows are giving 
the best years of their lives in your service. A 
word or two of kindly interest coming from 
you will make them happy for hours. Don't 
be shy of them. I know there are rough ones 
among them perhaps as rough as can be. It 
always seems to me, however, that the first 
thing we have got to do with even the worst, 
is to try and make them proud of themselves, 
and you can only do that by showing that you 
yourself are proud of them." 

His very earnestness was infectious, and 
many who had hung back came forward and 
helped, so-called soldiers' gardens spreading, 
in time, wherever a few square feet of soil could 
be found. The majority never knew who had 
started the idea, and Ainslie would have 
laughed contemptuously had such been men- 
tioned. But, once again, the men knew, and 
put a mark in their minds on that score. 

Ainslie went home on three months' leave 
during our second hot season on the Rock ; 


and when he returned, took up all his interests 
with increasing vigour. His Colour- Sergeant 
told me afterwards that he verily believed 
some of the men had been counting the days, 
and that the Company's rooms seemed to 
brighten up when he reappeared. 

It goes without saying that the Band had 
always occupied a considerable place in his 
affections, exercising the same spell over him 
that soldiers' bands had always done. As 
soon as his musical gifts were discovered, he 
was put on the Band committee at once, and 
from that moment spared neither his time nor 
his money in working it up to the highest 
pitch of perfection ; getting additional acting 
bandsmen sanctioned ; augmenting the Band 
fund ; and purchasing the best instruments, 
that the tone of the wood or the brass and 
the whole volume of sound might be enriched. 

I often used to watch his face when the band 
was playing in the stillness of the evening, and 
knew well what was passing in his mind. He 
would [frequently "get away at such times by 
himself, and never cared to talk, even when 
the item on the programme was ended. 

There was in the ranks of the band at that 
date a man who possessed a tenor voice of 
altogether exceptional quality. As soon as 


Ainslie discovered it, he arranged, when our 
Band performed at night on the Alameda, that 
this man should sing a song as part of the 
regular performance, and just before " God 
save the Queen " at the close. The song was 
always the same, and the effect was such, in 
the cooler air after the heat of the day in the 
shadows of the pepper trees and the light of 
the moon that hundreds came to listen, lodg- 
ing themselves on the walls above the rippling 

The words were William Henley's " Eng- 
land, my England," and the music was Ainslie's 
own, played by the full band. I never think of 
those nights, now, without recalling the third 
verse : 

" Ever the faith endures, 

England, my England : 
Take and break us : we are yours, 

England my own ! 
Life is good and joy runs high 
Between English earth and sky : 
Death is death ; but we shall die 

To the song on your bugles blown, 

To the stars on your bugles blown I " 

Before the end of that summer, one of the 
worst epidemics of fever known for years 


visited the Rock. So severe was the visita- 
tion that the whole of our Regimental staff 
succumbed, the Regiment being for a time in 
command of a Captain. One of our officers 
died and several men, among them being our 
singer : the health of many others was impaired 
for life. 

Whenever any of his own men were sick, 
Ainslie had always made it his business to 
visit them in hospital, and I know that at this 
time he frequently spent many hours there, 
talking to those confined to bed and sometimes 
writing their letters ; reading to the con- 
valescents, or sitting with a group of figures 
clad in hospital blue, in such scraps of shade 
as might be found in front of that great build- 
ing. He was at all times totally without self- 
consciousness, and having L been accustomed 
all his life to mix freely with the people of the 
land and go in and out of their cottages, he 
could enter these wards without shyness and 
talk to these men in their own tongue of the 
home interests that he knew were dear to 

I remember well his coming back from the 
hospital on the evening that our singer died. 
He spoke almost indignantly, as his habit 
was when he felt things keenly. "Yes," he 



repeated " he has gone, like the others! 
And who shall say that he has not given his 
message ? I see his age was only twenty-six ; 
but don't ever think that the value of a life is 
to be estimated by the tale of the years. That 
is quite wrong. I tell you a child may leave 
things of beauty behind it, and more powerful 
for good, than the actions of many a hundred 
men. So here, in the case of this man of ours. 
Do you think people will forget his song ? 
never ! " and there was something of a choke 
in his voice as he finished. 

Life the life of the individual was always 
regarded by Ainslie in the light of a work of 
art. His own, like everyone's, had been 
planned by his Creator ; but he believed that 
the planning had been merely the outline, and 
that it fell to him, as to all men, to fill in the 
detail, to perfect the whole. The time allowed 
might be long, or it might be short. That did 
not signify. Time was a factor that pertained 
to our world ; and some works of art might be 
marred by an overplus of time being devoted 
to them. Beauty lay primarily in simplicity, 
and the beauty that was itself imperishable 
would be attained when time ceased. Flaws 
there must be, marring again and again the 
outward symmetry of the plan ; but here, once 


more, there came to man's aid another thing 
of divine beauty the undying promise of 
ultimate forgiveness. Unless I am mistaken, 
this was what always influenced him on the 
more serious side of his character, and that lay 
at the root of his keenest endeavours of the 
perennial hope that never left him. 

I have said before that the religious sense 
was strong in him. I have certainly never 
known anyone more punctilious about fulfilling 
what he considered the very profession of his 
creed necessarily entailed. He seldom spoke 
of such things, even to me. His life spoke for 
itself. And others knew it. More than once 
I fancied that I noticed in those whose lives 
would not have borne close scrutiny, a certain 
shyness when in his company. He never 
spoke of such, and he very rarely criticised. 
"Fault-finding is easy," he would say. "Any 
fool can do that. The job is not to do it. 
And I always try to remind myself of what 
I read once, somewhere in Goethe ' I see 
no fault in others of which I have not 
myself been guilty.' Well put for most of 
us, isn't it?" 

As an instance of how strongly he felt that 
religion was a necessity to all, and at the same 
time how fully he realised that if it was to be 


made attractive to the multitude in its outward 
form, brightness must be brought into church 
services by every possible means, the following 
may be given. 

On moving up to South Barracks from the 
Casemates, our place of worship became the 
great school above the New Mole Parade. 
By some it was called South Barrack Chapel, 
though not a consecrated building. Ainslie no 
sooner grasped the situation than he asked his 
Colonel's permission to make use of some of 
the bandsmen. He wished to form a choir. 
The band boys could all sing or learn to do 
so, and with them, and eighteen or twenty 
instrumentalists, more brightness might be 
brought into the parade services on Sunday 
mornings. He had sung in his village choir 
from boyhood, and was determined to see what 
he could do here. 

There were rigorous rules, as he soon found, 
regarding what might be sung at these services, 
and the Psalms and responses were not among 
the number. So much the worse. He would 
get his music in somehow, and cast round at 
once to see how this might be done, being 
never tired of asserting that music was the 
most powerful to influence of all the arts. 

A new Chaplain had been lately placed in 


charge of the South District who possessed 
the gift of addressing men. Ainslie went to 
him and suggested a voluntary service on 
Sunday evenings throughout the winter, offer- 
ing at the same time to find a choir. When 
the matter was arranged and the trammels of 
red tape here again finally negotiated, he never 
failed, when off duty, to attend the practices 
of this choir, and in fact trained those who 
came himself, and all of whom gave their 
services voluntarily. Many of the members 
were his own bandsmen, under the Band 
Sergeant ; but among the singers were men 
of different corps, as well as always Ainslie 
himself. The Psalms and responses were sung 
at these services, and hymns were numerous, 
with occasionally an Anthem when the choir 
had attained to some proficiency. 

Once again he tried his best to interest out- 
siders here in what was being done, keeping 
the religious side and his own part in the 
matter in the background altogether. He 
discovered a certain boy in the band who 
possessed an excellent voice, and set to work 
to train him with the utmost care in various 
solo parts. A little later, I heard him saying 
to a group we met on the Walls " If you 
want to hear a good thing, come up to South 


Chapel on Sunday evening. We have got a 
boy he's very fat and is called Samson who 
sings ' Oh for the wings, for the wings of a 
dove,' just first-class you must come and hear 
him : don't forget." They came, and came 
again, and in time it was no uncommon sight 
to find a congregation there numbering close 
upon five hundred, and one moreover made up 
almost entirely of soldiers, with a sprinkling of 
their wives and children. 

It might be supposed that Ainslie was 
* rapidly becoming exceptionally popular by all 
that he was doing. In the common accepta- 
tion of the term he was nothing of the kind, 
the qualities that marked him in so many ways 
not making for such, and he himself never 
courting popularity. He was still the dreamer 
he had always been ; he was reserved as ever, 
and retained all his earlier love of solitude. 
He was often to be seen going out or returning 
from a ride by himself, and, as often, sitting 
reading in a quiet corner of the library of the 
Garrison. At all times, when out and about, 
there was alertness in his every movement, 
accompanied usually by a quick action of the 
head and a keen look in the grey eyes. Even 


on the hottest days he walked quickly, giving 
others the impression that he was on some 
definite errand. I do not think I ever saw 
him idle, and certainly never knew him " loaf" ; 
his interests were too many, and his desire to 
be up and doing too keen. 

There is no doubt that his profession always 
came first with him. He qualified early for pro- 
motion, attending many courses on a variety 
of subjects and generally distinguishing him- 
self where examinations were entailed. Among 
other things he had acquired a useful know- 
ledge of Spanish that often stood him in good 
stead as earth-stopper, and had also steeped 
himself in local history, constantly picturing the 
struggles of Nations that this mighty Rock had 

Then again, the romance that he had woven 
about a soldier's calling in his youth never lost 
its hold on him, but rather increased in power 
and intensity, even the monotonous round of 
duty and the daily life of the barrack square 
being powerless to deprive him of those ideals 
that he kept always steadily before his mind. 
To him, this was the resting and the training 
time. The latent strength was there just the 
same. Only the call was wanting to bring the 
whole to life. Here, in this fighting machine, 


was invincibility, the inheritance of centuries ; 
and when that call came, this Regiment of 
which he was so proud, would justify itself and 
add a still more glorious page to its history. 
Such things to him were a certainty. 

It was only on rare occasions that he would 
talk in such a strain. For the most part he 
kept his dreams and fantasies almost wholly to 
himself, being fully aware that those about him 
cared for nothing of the kind. He could meet 
these friends on commoner ground elsewhere 
meet them and engage with them in all their 
sports and games, pursuits or undertakings 
whatsoever meet them in full eagerness, be- 
cause contests of all kinds gave zest to life 
and the spirit of rivalry was to him congenial. 
Thus, while on one side he might be a mystic, 
a poetic dreamer, on the other he was always 
the man of action, with cool indifference and 
finest pluck that was never daunted, though 
the things to be faced were the gravest that 
might come. 

Looked at as a whole, it was not perhaps 
surprising that some failed to understand this 
being of many tastes and many talents and 
no less strange ideals. There was something 
altogether uncommon about this Ainslie Gore, 
and even to those of his own age he was not 


exactly one they looked to make their close 
and intimate friend. He seemed sometimes 
to be living a life apart from theirs, though 
going with them often hand in hand. Thus 
some were, in a way, shy of him his tastes 
puzzled them, his talents made them, in a sense, 
afraid, his exuberant energy overwhelmed 
them, his serious views of life belonged to a 
world that was to many here unknown. 
, So far as he was himself concerned, he was 
certainly not one of those to whom a host of 
friends was a necessity. To him, friendship 
was something sacred and akin to a love, and 
he could not therefore give this love to many. 
Yet he was by no means deficient in largeness 
of heart and ready sympathy on all occasions. 
I should say that he spent half his life in doing 
acts of kindness of which more than half the 
world about him never dreamed. Enlist his 
sympathy, ask his aid, and he was an enthusiast 
at once, and one that would not spare himself. 
In a sense he was the friend of all ; but he re- 
mained throughout his life the intimate of few, 
giving to these his love whole-heartedly and 
without possibility of change. 

I have more than once spoken of the way 
his men regarded him. He had won the affec- 
tion of many among them, and one and all 


trusted him. His reputation throughout the 
ranks, I found out later, exceeded that of most 
of us. And if this gradually widened during 
these years, a circumstance arose at this time 
that added to it immeasurably in the eyes of 
the rank and file. 

The epidemic of fever already referred to, 
had seriously reduced the number of officers 
available for duty. Many had been invalided 
home, and Ainslie, like several other subalterns, 
found himself left in charge of his Company, 
with the prospect of having to take it through 
the annual course of musketry at the North 
Front Camp in a few weeks' time. Companies 
were located at this hutment in turn, and it 
was during the period he had to spend there 
that Ainslie found himself suddenly in a position 
of some difficulty, if not indeed danger. 

Among the men of his command was one 
possessed of a violent temper, and who shall be 
known here by the name of Clancy. Ainslie 
had often befriended this man, and had stood 
up for him on more than one occasion when he 
chanced to get into serious trouble, though he 
always felt that he had never really won him. 
Clancy's comrades no doubt considered him 
dangerous ; but they liked him and knew him 
for a good soldier, admiring his bull-necked 


strength and courage, and possibly considering 
that a company made up of men of his stamp 
would be likely to prove invincible on service. 
Had it not been for his temper, Clancy would 
long before this have been promoted : his fail- 
ing was his curse, and on this occasion nearly 
landed him in gaol. 

It happened one morning, at the 600 yards 
range, that Clancy had to fire last. He lay 
down, pulled trigger and missed. Loading 
again, he did the same, and Ainslie went over 
to him. " The bally gun won't shoot," growled 
the man, with many an oath added " Missed 
every shot but one at the last something-or- 
other range, and now it's same here." 

"Not shoot?" said Ainslie. "Get up and 
let me try." It was the custom with us when 
any man complained of his weapon to fire with 
it at once ; so Ainslie took the rifle, steadied 
himself for a moment and fired, the signalling 
disk showing that he had scored an inner, 
missing the bull's-eye by a few inches. " There 
is nothing wrong with the gun ; try again," 
he said quietly. 

Once more, Clancy went down, looking black 
as thunder. The two sections in rear, with the 
sergeants keeping the registers, stood silently 
waiting for the result, and perhaps scenting 


trouble. Again there was the crack of the 
rifle, followed by no movement in the marker's 
butt : the shot had once more missed the target. 
The next instant, the man had taken the rifle 
by the muzzle, flung it from him, and then 
stood there trembling. 

" March the sections home," said Ainslie. 
"Stand fast this man and you, Colour-Sergeant, 
and the right file of this section. March off. 
Now go and fetch that rifle," he added, turning 
to Clancy. The man never moved. Once 
more Ainslie gave his order. The man's 
fingers were twitching ; but he still never 
moved, and at the same time the Colour- 
Sergeant, as if doubtful, placed himself be- 
tween the youthful officer and the man. For a 
moment it looked as if Clancy would attack 
the rest of those present. " March him to the 
Guard Room and confine him," said Ainslie, at 
last. The man found his tongue then ; but he 
obeyed and was marched away, one of the 
spare markers bringing in the rifle. 

The men in the huts were all agog. (( Here 
he comes," said one, " being taken to the 
Guard Room, see yonder." " For ole Joe ; 
wull there, he done hisself in this time, and no 
mistake," said another " That temper o' his '11 


bring un to the gallows, if he don't mind." 
" It's a District this time, and two years hard," 
remarked a man busy cleaning his belts, to be 
corrected by his neighbour with " Go on with 
yer I tell yer it's a Gineral and five years 
penal. Once on that Guard Report you don't 
come off, and this here's insubordination." 
" Mut'ny, yer means," broke in another. 

The men in several of the nearest huts were 
craning out of the windows, watching the party 
coming across the sandy flat, with the officer 
following some way behind ; and the spare 
marker farther away still, carrying Clancy's 
rifle. They had nearly reached the white, 
dusty road leading to the Neutral Ground 
the only one to pierce the English Lines 
when they were seen to halt, and the officer to 
be catching them up. 

"Tain't unlike a funeral," remarked one of 
the lookers on ; " we none of us shan't see ole 
Joe no more." " You bide a minute," returned 
another " I reckons there's summut up see ? 
Where our lieutenant have got his hand in a 
job, it don't always come out as usual." 

Ainslie told me all about it afterwards, under 
pledge of secrecy. To have to punish any 
man for trivialities was to him little short of 


misery. Here was a much graver case. In- 
stead, therefore, of at once going to compare 
the targets and complete the registers, he 
followed the others in the direction of the hut- 
ment, where he could see Clancy's comrades 
leaning out of the windows. He knew exactly 
what that meant and what those men were 
saying, just as he knew the conflict that was 
passing in his own mind, every step he took 
the dictates of his own heart on the one hand, 
and the paramount claims of duty on the 

He called to the party to halt at last, and 
came up with them. " Turn about," he said, 
when he reached them. Then he broke out 
with " Are you going to disgrace the Regi- 
ment before the whole Garrison ? I know that 
I am not going to let you do anything of the 
kind. Do you want to sentence yourself to 
penal servitude? You won't do that, if I can 
help it. I'll give you another chance: take it 
or leave it ; it rests with you." 

Clancy's fingers began twitching again, and 
his eyes wandered over the cliffs of the great 
Rock and then he cast them on the sun-burnt 
ground. Ainslie did not wait for the man's 
answer, but added to the Sergeant " March 


him back to the firing point, and then send one 
of the men to warn the markers in the butts. 
He has only two shots to go." 

The Sergeant, a man who wore three medal 
ribbons and had many years' service, dropped 
behind for an instant, and muttered to Ainslie 
" I'm an old soldier, Sir, and you'll pardon 
me ; but if you gives this man back his rifle an' 
he misses, he'll turn it on to you and blow your 
brains out. I know the man, Sir, and he's 

"Think so," said Ainslie. 

Five minutes later Ainslie had handed the 
man his rifle and made him get into position 
"Take time," he said "don't be in a hurry. 
I want to see you make a bull." Clancy looked 
savage still ; but the cloud had already gone 
partly from his face as he looked up for an 
instant at the young officer stooping over him. 
Then he took aim. " Crack," went the rifle, 
and up went the white disk. Ainslie's hope 
had been realised. 

" I think we had better say as little about 
this as possible," remarked Ainslie to his 
Colour-Sergeant, after he had visited the butts 
and signed the registers. They were walking 
back to the camp together, Clancy having gone 


on with the other men, his rifle once more on 
his shoulder. 

" Strike me blind if I ever see'd such a thing 
as that!" ejaculated one of the men, leaning 
out of the hut windows in his shirt-sleeves, 
when the party was seen once more to be 

A bugler boy came out on to the steps in the 
full blaze of the late afternoon sun, and having 
filled his small lungs sounded " Come for 
Orders." Ainslie stirred in his chair and 
opened his eyes. The world outside was 
coming to life again and people were beginning 
once more to move about. A fresh sentry 
had just relieved the former one at the main 
entrance, and being fresh after a sleep on the 
plank bed in the guard room, was tramping 
his beat, his red jacket showing up brightly 
against the glare of the white walls, and his 
bayonet catching the glint of the sun when 
he turned. He had two hours before him, and 
plenty of time to tramp. When his turn came 
to be relieved, the evening gun would fire a 
thousand feet above, pickets would be falling 
in and fifes and drums would be beating " Re- 


treat" the old familiar sounds travelling up 
the face of the Rock as they had done for 
nigh two centuries, finding their echoes there, 
and telling their stones at the close of yet one 
more long-drawn day. 

The sun had already set when Ainslie and I 
emerged from the sun-baked South Pavilion, 
and on all sides there was stillness. We stood 
for a while looking across the placid waters of 
the bay all green and gold to the purple 
hills of Algeciras. 

" I had such a dream just then, lying in that 
chair," said Ainslie. "All comes of looking 
through Drinkwater and Sayer and ever so 
many other volumes yesterday on guard. I 
really believe I must have gone through, in 
the time, all the events of the three years and 
seven months and twelve days that the great 
siege of this place lasted. And what a story 
it was ! To think of these quarters of ours 
having stood, then, just as they are now. 
Those fellows must have all been heroes, even 
if there were bad ones among them. Just 
picture what they had to go through attacked 
by fire-ships and bumboats, night after night, 
bombarded from sea and land, eaten up with 
scurvy and fever, the water scanty and bad, 


and such provisions as they had going rotten 
in the heat, the town almost destroyed and in 
flames again and again, and starvation staring 
them in the face. 

" Then again, imagine the whole population 
crowding together up there, at Europa Flats, 
when first Rodney's fleet, and then Darby's, 
and then Howe's were sighted, bringing them 
at long intervals some temporary relief; picture 
that crowd of half-starved beings men, women, 
and children sick at heart, and yet raising 
cheer on cheer at the sight of those fleets in 
The Gut. And then, think of the inferno of 
that last attack, by specially constructed ships 
and the whole weight of the fleets of France 
and Spain ; with that other concourse of spec- 
tators thronging those hills yonder that they 
might witness this giant's fall the bay strewn 
with wreckage far and near ; but always with 
the old Rock frowning down at the whole, and 
remaining impregnable still." 

He was full of his old enthusiasms as he 
talked, repeopling the world with heroes, 
dreaming of their great deeds, and longing, 
as I know, that some small chance might one 
day come for him in the calling that he had 
made his own. 


" But after all," he continued, " it is not the 
great fights and the great deeds, any more 
than the great epics, that have the most lasting 
effects upon the lives of the many. I believe 
the silent things drive deepest and reach 
farthest. No doubt the people here were un- 
able to grasp the meaning at the time ; but 
I always imagine that of all the many things 
this Rock has seen, the most moving must 
have been the sight of the two battered ships 
of the line entering this bay in just such a 
light as this, perhaps, though it was the 28th 
October the Neptune slowly towing in the 
Victory, with Nelson's body on board." 

During our last winter a stroke of luck fell 
to Ainslie. One of his Excellency the Gov- 
ernor's aide-de-camps went home on three 
months' leave, and Ainslie was offered the 
temporary billet. His Colonel demurred at 
first, feeling that though he now had the re- 
quisite three years' service, he was too young 
for such a post ; but he was overruled, and 
Ainslie took up his new duties at the Convent 
under the distinguished soldier who reigned 
there. His social gifts were many. He had 


won his way among all classes, and now he 
was to be brought into touch with the host 
of visitors who came and went during these 
winter months, and who belonged to every 
nation under the sun. 

Once again he ran the chance of being spoilt 
and made over much of. His many gifts, like 
his music, found their affinity in many hearts ; 
he stood a splendid example of young man- 
hood ; and among those who now crossed his 
path, were some who were struck by the natural 
simplicity that was the secret of his charm, and 
who whispered together as they watched him 
that there was an exceeding beauty in this 
young life and sunny character pointing to 
great and ultimate success. 

This last was quite true ; and I think myself 
that he had, by now, come near attaining the 
ideal that Carlyle once held up before the eyes 
of a great gathering of young men that he 
had, in truth, " grown to be one all lucid and in 
equilibrium healthy, clear, and free, and dis- 
cerning all round about him." 

By the time Ainslie's temporary appointment 
came to an end our years on the Rock were 
nearly over. The day before we sailed he 
went to the Convent to bid the Governor 
good-bye. The great soldier had always taken 


an interest in him, and on this occasion led 
him down into the garden that he might talk 
with him, Ainslie telling me afterwards that 
his last words were these " You must go to 
India as soon as you can. India is the place ; 
there is practically no soldiering in England." 



" THEY don't seem to value us very highly," 
remarked Ainslie in a loud voice, that those 
standing near him might hear. 

" No," shouted a brother officer, with a 
laugh " but that will be revised all right if we 
go to the bottom ! " 

A group of us had collected on the lee side 
of the main companion-way for a minute or 
two : black clouds racing above, a mountainous, 
leaden-coloured sea running, noise enough to 
deafen, and a whole gale blowing. We were 
four days out from Gibraltar, having had bad 
weather all the time, and for the last day and a 
half had been battened down in the Bay of 

That afternoon we had had to destroy and 
throw overboard three of our horses, these 
having received such injuries as to render them 
useless. At the same time all the men were 
sent down to the lower decks, to lie down there 

and act as ballast, this hired transport, No. 37, 

24 o 


being some feet higher out of water than she 
should have been. Our captain had applied 
for coal before leaving the Rock, in order to 
lower her a little ; but unfortunately for us the 
Admiralty supply was just then short. So we 
put to sea as we were, and moreover with a 
complement of boats very far from sufficient to 
accommodate the crowd of men, women and 
children on board. 

In the opinion of some, the seas we shipped 
should have gone a long way towards remedy- 
ing the lack of ballast. Nevertheless, No. 37 
continued to behave like a mad thing, rolling 
scuppers under and lurching so handsomely 
that considerable damage was done. The 
misery in the women and children's quarters 
especially, and also on the troop decks, was 
distressing to witness, and those of us therefore 
who could keep their feet had a busy time, 
both night and day. 

Ainslie, I remember, though by no means a 
good sailor, was indefatigable in conveying 
help to all he could, setting a fine example of 
cheery indifference to discomforts, and spending 
a good deal of his time among the men in the 
semi-darkness of that vessel's hold. Over all 
that, however, it is well to draw the veil. We 
weathered the gale in the Bay, and an equally 



bad time in the Channel, and finally, on a 
February morning in 1897, disembarked at a 
South coast port in a blizzard of snow that, 
clad as they were and coming from a warm 
climate, put many of our men into hospital. 

It would have been difficult at that date to 
find a finer regiment anywhere. The men, for 
the most part, were of splendid physique ; 
their average number of years' service was 
high ; and we were fully up to our strength. 
We had suffered a good deal on our short 
voyage, and the damage to kit and consequent 
loss to the men had been severe. But with the 
mysterious faculty possessed more especially 
by soldiers, and that is frequently a cause of 
amazement even to those who command them, 
the Regiment disembarked as spic and span as 
if it had just come out of barracks ashore, and 
I believe made a considerable impression upon 
the inhabitants of that South coast port on 
marching in. 

A fate, however, awaited us that was common 
then to all regiments arriving home from foreign 
service. Before many weeks had passed we 
scarcely knew ourselves. The splendour of 
our martial bearing had largely departed. Our 
Colonel's time was up, and several other officers 
retired. The time-expired men took their dis- 


charge ; a very heavy draft was at the same 
time called for, to be sent forthwith to our 
other battalion in India ; and our ranks gradu- 
ally became full of strange and very young 
faces : the Regiment was wholly changed. 

The despatch of that draft to India brought 
about the first real separation between myself 
and Ainslie. Three subalterns had to go with 
it, and I was one of the number. At the 
moment, he was disappointed that he could 
not come too ; but he was wanted elsewhere, 
and I know that he had already made up his 
mind to take the advice he had been given, 
and to obtain an exchange to India on the first 

"I shan't be long after you," he said to me 
cheerily, just before we parted. " Meanwhile, 
they can't wipe us out altogether. It is im- 
possible for any power on earth to do that. A 
rotten system may reduce us to the condition 
of ' a squeezed lemon/ and all that we see going 
on just now may play Harry with us. But 
you can't blot out tradition, or destroy every- 
thing that rules here a regiment lives for 
ever, whatever may happen to it. We shall 
rise again, right enough, and break into new 
life, with the old spirit about us still." 

He had lost none of the hope and vigour 


and "go" that had always marked him, and 
if some of us had begun to feel dispirited by 
what we witnessed, the effect upon him was 
that of a call for further effort for still more 
determined fight on his part, and always with- 
out losing heart. 

He came down with the draft on the day we 
embarked, and spoke enthusiastically of the 
future when we parted. I can see his tall 
figure now, standing on the wharf, when the 
rest of us were aboard the craft that was to 
take us as far as Southampton. He struck me 
more than ever then as the very beau ideal of 
what a young soldier might be strong, clear- 
eyed, possessed of a keen love of his profes- 
sion and immeasurably proud of it ; fit to go 
anywhere and to do anything at any moment, 
and holding always by the old ideals that had 
occupied his mind from boyhood onwards. 

He was acting adjutant at the time, and just 
before we cast off, some of the men seeing him 
standing there alone, raised a cheer. Then 
one among them a bull-necked, powerful- 
looking man, known among the others as Joe 
sung out his name, and the rest cheered him 
after that more lustily than ever. 

The last bell rung to clear ship, we hauled 
slowly out, and he waved his hand and turned 


to go. I knew exactly what his feelings were 
at that moment. The band on the jetty struck 
up a tune of many memories. We were moving 
through waters smooth as oil, and there was a 
brilliant yellow light in the western sky behind 
a dark mass of shipping on that still, spring 
evening. For a moment there was silence, 
and the cheering died away. The men crowd- 
ing on the poop were listening to the band. 
Then they joined in, and started singing 
"Auld Lang Syne." 

I had not been long in India, when the 
following letter reached me from Ainslie : 

" You see I am writing from Downham. I 
came up here to talk to my father about a 
possible exchange. It seems I can effect this 
with Ronald who, as you know, is invalided 
home with dysentery. Only one thing rather 
sticks in my mind my dear old people seem 
disappointed I should be going abroad again 
so soon, though they both, I need hardly say, 
put a good face on it. Of course I know very 
little about how matters stand in India, though 
from what fellows say and what I gather from 
the papers, there seems every likelihood of a 
big business on the Frontier before the year is 


out. I wouldn't miss that for all the world, 
and I don't think my father would mind my 
going so much, if he thought there was a 
chance of my seeing active service. What he 
dislikes is the idea of my being stuck down in, 
what he calls, 'some beastly unhealthy station,' 
and asks, * What's the fun of that ? ' 

" My mother goes on the principle that 
where a soldier is sent he must go, but there 
is no reason for him to go out of his way to 
look for things. I chaff her a lot when she 
says that, and tell her it's all nonsense. These 
are not days if there ever were such when 
all one has to do is to stand in the barrack 
square, complacently waiting for something to 
turn up : that's rot ! So the end of it is that 
my father is going up to the War Office to 
see a friend or two there, get the big wigs to 
sanction this exchange when it comes forward, 
and also find out, if he can, whether there is 
any truth in the reports the Press has got hold 
of. I will wager anything he gets his way : 
his cheery old face hasn't altered a bit. 

" I won't talk about other things now, or 
other people. I am only here for three days 
and must leave again to-morrow evening. No 
doubt, when the exchange is sanctioned, my 
new Colonel will give me a couple of months' 


leave, though always with the chance of this 
being cut short if I am wanted. Have you 
started polo yet ? I shall have to get you to 
look out for a pony or two for me. We are 
getting on all right. Last week we had a 
batch of men from the depot, and we are taking 
a few recruits. They are not bad, though not 
up to the old lot. Good-bye. A. G." 

The old Squire experienced few difficulties 
at the War Office, and before the end of 
August the exchange was sanctioned, " pro- 
vided no expense was thereby caused to the 
public." In other words, Ainslie undertook to 
join our battalion in India at his own charges, 
and at the expiration of the two months' leave 
subsequently granted him. 

" Now, all we have got to do," said the 
Squire to Ainslie on the night of his arrival at 
Denton, his face wreathed in smiles " is just 
to get our kit together and keep our eyes open 
as to what is going on out there. But I don't 
think we had better say much about it to your 
mother time enough for that, you know time 
enough for that ! Meanwhile, you must go 
round all your friends here, and see what we 
have been doing. I can't say there is much 
improvement in the outlook. There is no end 
to the reductions in rent, and the demands of 


the farmers are also endless. So, one way 
and another, there is not a penny comes back 
out of the estate now or is likely to, so far as 
I can see. But, dear me, there is no reason 
for us to cry out. The property is clear of 
all encumbrances, and things are bound to 
come right in time bound to ; and what's 
more, they will then be all right for you. 
What's the use of a father if he can't see to 

Ainslie told me much of such talks in his 
letters at this time, speaking of his father's 
continued cheerfulness and energy as splendid. 
<( It isn't as if he was young," he said in one of 
these " he is already over seventy, and yet 
he is out and about everywhere, and has given 
up none of his County work. He has dropped 
hunting, of course, and for some time now ; 
but talks of coming out with me on 'the First 7 
to act as marker, he says, and get a shot 
when he can, for we still walk all our birds, as 
in old days." 

" I have been here a fortnight," he writes in 
another letter the following week " and think 
I have made good use of my time : been 
round to every farm, and seen a whole host of 
old friends, on the land, and in the cottages as 
well. Of course I know how difficult it is 


really to get at the inner thoughts of these 
people. Almost all are frightfully reticent, 
some keep their eyes on the main chance, and 
a few are humbugs though very few, where 
they realise that perhaps one knows a little 

" But apart from all that, there are folk here, 
and in plenty still, who I believe are true as 
steel and as honest as the day. Haven't they 
known one from childhood, watched one's 
foolery as a boy, and seen one grow up with 
them and theirs ? Of course they have, and 
they know it. And therefore when I take 
their hands and look again at their honest 
faces, I believe I can trust what they say, and 
take their welcome in the way they mean me 
to. They don't give their hearts to all and 
quite rightly ; but they never swerve from 
those they have really learnt to know. For 
my part well, I love them all. They always 
stand, in my eyes, as part of my home ; and 
for my home I would give my life. 

" You know my ideas on that score. Per- 
haps I have inherited them from my father; 
and you should just hear the people on the 
place speak of him ! They honour a man of 
backbone and one who shows fight ; and in 
his case they have watched him closely through 


all these hard times, marked things coming 
lower and lower at this old house, year after 
year, till the place has become silent and well- 
nigh closed, and seen at the same time, what 
Lawrence Allen of Compass Furlong an old 
man now, himself put into words, when 
chatting with me the other day. 

"'Ah/ he said, 'there's one, anyways, as 
never spares hisself, and acts up to what er 
preaches. Our Squire hain't no afternoon 
gentleman, 1 he hain't. Does uns best, he do, 
straight on the nail, and goes hand in hand 
wi' the rest on us come what may, rough or 
smooth, wet or shine ! I reckons as no un 
can't take arter a better pattern than hisn's. 
An' it be my firm beliefs same as old Mr. 
Drew was a-sayin' at the ordinary, last Satur- 
day as ever was as when his time do come 
to stick up his stick, 2 you an 1 we an' the rest 
on us '11 find as he's tidied all up as it should 
be, and picked up every mortal one of his 
crumbs. 3 That's what our Squire be, an' your 
fayther be ; an' we don't want no strangers 
here ! ' And then he turned away, as he 
always does, you know, ' when he's had his bit 
of a say.' 

1 A man who is always behindhand and neglects matters. 

2 To die. 3 To tidy up work neatly. 


" We have got the jolliest little boy staying 
here my Uncle John's son, and my godson 
(think of that !) ; the said uncle and my aunt 
being here too. My father has taken to the 
child enormously, and no wonder. I think he 
will make a rare good one. You should have 
just seen the little fellow two days ago. I 
took him by the hand and led him down to the 
deer paddock, where ' Alice Grey ' is spending 
the last years of her life. The old mare knew 
my voice at once when I came back here, and 
I fancy horses are like dogs in this particular, 
and that they never forget. However, I called 
to her, and she came out from under the shade 
of the elms into the broad sunlight and put her 
nose on my shoulder. And then I put little 
Reggie on her back, and we went round the 
paddock together ; the little fellow holding on 
by the mane, not the least afraid, and indeed 
laughing from sheer joy. And just then, poor 
old Welfare tottered out of his garden at the 
back of the stables, and seeing us, stood there 
repeating more than once : ' Well there that's 
just as it should be just for all the world as it 
should be ! ' 

"This letter has run to an unconscionable 
length ; but I must tell you one thing more, 
from which I have been hanging back all the 


time. I have been over to your people pretty 
often a confession in itself! Two days ago, 
I met your sister on my way. Well ; some- 
thing happened. And after that we went into 
that room with the big Raeburn portrait in 
it. Of course I had to play. Music is some- 
times responsible for a good deal, and it has 
certainly been responsible for a good deal here. 

" When I had finished, and was just shutting 
the piano, she called out from the big sofa 
* Do you remember a song you sung, years ago, 
when we were all three together ? I wish you 
would sing it again.' So I had to sing Ich 
liebe Dick once more, and when I had finished, 
I looked across the room and saw that tears 
were streaming down her cheeks. Of course 
she said she was not really crying, and tried 
to wipe them away quickly, on my saying that 
tears at such a time were a bad omen. Then 
we both laughed, and agreed that omens were 
rubbish and tears sometimes very silly things. 

" I know you will not say anything about 
this when you are writing home. Nobody 
knows, and we mean to tell nobody yet. You 
and I, however, have always been such close 
friends, that I can't keep anything from you. 
I don't think that if we are to be brought 
closer together even than we have been, and 


what's more by the ties of relationship, we 
can ever become more like brothers than all 
these years of our joint lives have proved us 
to be. 

" You will take me, I know, in the way that 
she has. And then, when the years in India 
are over, and all that they may possibly bring, 
I think I shall be content to hang up my sword 
in the hall with the others that have hung 
there long ; though mine, perhaps, may fail to 
tell the stories that they do, to the Gores of 
a future day. 

" Mind you keep me informed as to how 
things are going, and wire to me at once if 
you scent trouble ahead. There is nothing to 
prevent my joining before my leave is up, and 
I can start at an hour's notice, my kit being 
practically ready. I wouldn't miss a show for 
all the world. I have dreamt of such things a 
thousand times, and to be at last with the Regi- 
ment in one good thing, would be supremely 
splendid and what is more, might tend, as I 
believe, to make one a better man. Good-bye. 
Affectionately yours, A. G." 

That was the last letter I ever had from 
him. Things moved somewhat quickly after 
that. A letter from me to him crossed this 
one, and though it was destined never to reach 


him, I give it here because it explains the 
position of affairs in India, and how these led 
shortly afterwards to his hurried departure from 
his home. 

" My last letter will have told you of all the 
different shaves that were going the round of 
camp and barrack, and it looks now as if some of 
these were working out true. The Mohmands 
have been misbehaving themselves, and what 
is more to the point, the Afridis and Orakzai 
have been playing Old Harry on the borders 
and the Government is getting restive. They 
can't stand such doings much longer. The 
Orakzai raided Samava recently, and the Afri- 
dis were in the Khyber, with Malakhand and 
Chakdara attacked by the Swat Johnnies be- 
fore that. It will have to be stopped, though 
nothing has been settled yet, so far as we can 
learn. It will be a big thing if it comes, and 
all that we hear is true ; but you will realise 
what fellows are when they begin to talk out 
here. Plenty of time yet. There appears to 
be no chance of our being warned for service, 
and leave is still being granted. 

" Can't write any more now. We have a 
polo match to-day against the 5th, and as I am 
playing, I must go round and have a look at 
the ponies. Got one ripper, you know. Bought 


him of Charley Hay, when they were ordered 
home you remember him at my Dame's, don't 
you ? 

"Awfully sorry I have not been able to go 
on with this before. We have been rather 
busy. I will tell you in a minute about that ; 
but first of all we won that match, all right. 
One of us hit a lucky goal in the last five 
minutes. It was a deuced good game, all 
through, and my new purchase played Ai. 

" Well, since I began this a fortnight ago, 
things have been moving a bit quick. Of 
course you have had your eyes open and have 
watched The Times telegrams. The Mohmand 
expedition starts next week, we are told. A 
bigger business than this is brewing, though, 
and the Colonel has heard privately that it is 
quite possible we may be wanted. We should 
go up to Peshawar, though nothing is moving 
at present. I will let you have a wire directly 
I think you had better make a start, or you may 
miss the job and where would you be then, 
with all the soul-inspiring things you have been 
conjuring up in your mind for years ! At 
present, I picture you without thought of the 
shiny East, and concentrating your powerful 
intelligence upon how to get the best of those 
extraordinary wild partridges of yours, with 


Giles to help you, all he knows. Hope you 
have been successful. Don't I wish I was 
along. I heard from my sister that you had 
been over to see them a time or two, and that 
they hoped to get you to shoot there later. 
Mind you go, or I fancy somebody may be 
disappointed ! 

" I have just this moment heard that the 
General who is to command the big show is 
actually on his way out, having been home on 
leave. I wonder they did not warn you at the 
same time ! No symptom of any call for us yet. 
It is sickening, especially as others we know are 
actually on the move to Peshawar and Jumrud. 
However, we are ready to jump off at any 
moment, and of course they know that all right. 

" I shall address my next letter to Port Said 
post-office. You will be on the way very soon, 
I expect, and possibly before this reaches you. 
Should you get it, however, don't forget that, 
failing Port Said, there will be letters for you, 
for certain, at Aden, and also at Bombay if you 
call at Grindlay Groom's offices in Hornby 
Road. From rumours I have heard since 
writing this far, I feel pretty sure I shall be 
wiring to you before long, and possibly in the 
next few hours, though I shall post this all the 



Ainslie was coming back through the village 
with his father when my telegram was delivered 
to him. The Squire was riding his cob, and 
Ainslie was walking by his side, with his gun 
on his shoulder. They stopped for a moment 
in the roadway when the boy caught them, and 
it happened to be just in front of Susan 
Mantel's little shop, so she told me later, and 
"when she wer' on the point of servin' a cus- 
tomer with a nice bath-brick that she werV 

Ainslie read the message to himself and then 
aloud to his father, thrusting it hurriedly into 
his pocket, and quickening his pace so that the 
Squire's cob had to jog to keep up with him. 
This is how it ran, the original being before me 
as he received it : it marked a red-letter day 
in his life, and he wished it kept : 

" Start at once. Call letters Aden and 
Grindlay's Bombay." 

Susan Mantel saw the whole episode, and 
being a woman of discernment as well as having 
had a talk with Ainslie a day or two before, 
put two and two together, and, according to 
her own account, there and then remarked to 
her customer " I knows exactly what that 
be, Mrs. Pryn, I says knows exactly, I be 
bound I does. 'Tis his summons. He be 
called for, and may the Lord Almighty, I says, 



not make it a call for he. I got no faith in 
them blacks, Mrs. Pryn, I says not a mossel, 
I haven't. And what our por soldiers a-got to 
do to kep 'em in their place and lern 'em how 
to conduct theirselves, nobody 'ouldn't believe. 
The young Squire, ther', was only a-sayin' to 
me t'other day, I says, as ther' was great odds 
among 'em and as no trustes wasn't to be 
placed in 'em. 

"But ther' now, Mrs. Pryn, I says, jus' look 
at they two a-goin' along together, like th' old 
Squire, and hisn's bonny son wi' gun on 
shoulder. Ah ! a brave look, has our young 
Squire got wi' un, I says a brave look. I 
allus said as ther' wasn't never no un wi' such 
looks, the country round, and no un wi' a bigger 
heart or kinder ways wi' un. Us'n all knew'd 
that. An' I bain't ashamed, Mrs. Pryn, I says, 
to own to it I loved un as a child, I says, and 
I loves un now, though it 'ouldn't be seemly, 
like, for me to say so much to many that it 
'ouldn't. Ah well, ther' th' old Squire, his 
good lady, and the son. Wher' be you a-goin' 
to match they, I says ? Nowhere, I says. 
Brave an' bold, that's what he be, bless un ! " 

It was four o'clock on the 29th of September 


when my message reached him. Before six 
he had left his home and was on his way to 
London. Of his doings after that, little is 
known beyond what he left recorded in the 
small penny account book that he carried with 
him, and in which he wrote down certain things 
from day to day. The writing is very minute, 
and being in pencil was already much rubbed 
before it came into my hands ; so much so, 
indeed, as to be almost undecipherable in 

With the book, when I found it, were a letter 
from his father and one from his mother, which 
had reached him just as he was leaving London, 
and which I will give in what appears to me to 
be their proper place; a short note from my 
sister, already referred to ; and two letters from 
myself which he found waiting for him at Aden 
and Bombay as I had promised. These were 
tied up together at the time by me, and now lie 
before me on this table as I write. 

For such further details as were subsequently 
gatherable, I was necessarily dependent upon 
the one or two who met him on his long 
journey, especially in the latter part of it. 
All alike spoke of his eagerness to press on, 
and his keen anxiety to reach the Regiment 
before the real advance began. Untoward 


incidents that would have served to check 
many, he brushed aside : if he could not get 
there one way he would get there by another. 
And when he met those who took a grave 
view of their responsibilities, and explained 
what could and could not be done according 
to the regulations, he seems to have listened 
respectfully and then to have taken a line of 
his own, cost what it might. 

At no time does a man declare his own 
character quicker than on a campaign. In 
Ainslie's case, those who met him here and 
particularly at the point where he ultimately 
struck the line of march tell how greatly they 
were impressed by his depth of nature and 
high-souled sense of duty. "He was always 
ready to lend a hand," said one. " I don't 
think I ever saw anything to beat his self- 
forgetfulness and invincible good temper, and 
we certainly all admired his splendid strength 
and physique." 

" I never met a man," wrote another, who 
chanced while in command of a mule battery 
to be thrown into close company with him 
for a large part of a day and a night " I 
never met a man who possessed a greater 
share of what I will call the compelling power. 
There was a natural charm about him that 


simply won my heart at once, and at the same 
time brought me over to his views that I had 
at first felt bound seriously to oppose. I can 
only tell you that though he was a much 
younger man than myself, I ended by feeling 
I must give him all he wished. His energy 
was infectious, just as there was something 
captivating in his whole bearing. The very 
truth that was in the man shone out in those 
grey eyes of his and rang in his every word, 
so that we who met him out here, as I did, 
for the first time, asked 'Who's that? 'and 
then looked, and looked again." 



I DO not propose to give the whole contents 
of this stained and crumpled diary, however 
great its human interest might prove to some. 
Many of the entries are of a private nature 
references to his home and to mine ; to his 
past life, and his hopes for the future, both 
in this world and the next. The very last 
thing he would have wished would have been 
that such thoughts as escaped him here, and 
that he jotted down during the enforced idleness 
of a long journey, should appear in print for 
the rest of the world to discuss and criticise. 
He was intensely reserved, and seldom referred 
to those things that were linked with his inner 
consciousness. What he felt most he at all 
times spoke about least. And knowing this, 
I have thought it right to give here only such 
entries as serve the purpose of the moment. 

" We are banging along across France. The 
sun has only been up half an hour. Let me 



see it's Saturday morning : must date this 
Oct. \st, 1897. Poor pheasants ! I expect Giles 
has killed his brace by this time, to keep the 
day. In thirty-six hours from now we should 
be in Brindisi. Been rather a fool, I'm afraid. 
Must try and make up for it by going as 
much quicker than the post as may be possible, 
and as nearly as quick as a telegram as I can. 
The truth is, I ought to have started a week 
or more ago. But I was torn in two, and 
dallied on : it's the old story ! A woman is 
often altogether too strong for a man ; and 
that is just the reason why she may lead him 
on the road to heaven if she has it in her 
or send him straight along the one lead- 
ing to somewhere else. It is a mystery, and 
will remain so. I believe that if all the other 
greater truths of life were found, one by one, 
to be bubbles, and were duly pricked, this 
one would remain, to defy the rest of us to 
the end. Glad I'm not a woman: it is suf- 
ficient responsibility to be a man. 

" I was so hurried yesterday, before leaving 
London in the evening, that I hardly had 
time to do more than glance at two letters from 
the dear old people at home. I have just 
read them again, this afternoon. They tried 
their best to keep touch with me, so long as 


I was in the Country. How like them ! They 
can't reach me by letter again, for a long while." 

The two letters referred to here, I found 
upon him later myself. I have just undone 
them, after all these years, and tried to smooth 
out their creases and their frayed edges. They 
are like sacred things to me. The first, given 
here, was from his father ; the other from his 

" DEAR SONNIE, I know we have said our 
good-byes ; but your mother wants to try and 
reach you for a word or two more before you 
leave London early to-morrow, so of course 
I must back her up, and, after the manner of 
us men, put all the blame of this epistle on the 
woman ! I expect your mother feels there are 
some things she can trust herself to write 
rather than speak ; and there are plenty of 
things that women, and especially mothers, 
can put into words better than we can. But 
whether this is right or not, I am not going to 
be left behind where you are concerned, even 
though I repeat myself. 

" I am so very glad, as I said, to think of 
your seeing a bit of active service, and know 
well how you have always hoped for a chance of 



the kind. Most of us are the better for such 
experiences, and I go so far as to say that it 
would be well for all men to go through some 
real hardship, or danger, or privation, at least 
once in their lives, and before they are much 
more than five - and - twenty. Every man, 
woman and child here will look eagerly for 
news of you, and also to seeing you back 
before very long. You have lost your leave 
and the cub-hunting, and they ought to let 
you have another turn as soon as this job is 
over. Anyway, won't we just about give you 
a welcome when that great day comes ! 

" Many of the old folk here are scratching 
their heads over your unceremonious departure, 
and saying they would have liked a grip of 
your hand before parting. I met old Willum 
on my way back from the stables, after telling 
Welfare someone would have to take this, and 
he said, with pull of forelock that is now pass- 
ing out of fashion ' Ther', I does hope, to be 
sure, that the young Squire '11 come safe back, 
an' not get hurted : can't afford to lose the 
likes o' he/ I told the old man that you 
would be all right ; but with the usual deep 
wisdom of his class, he would have it that 
' furrin' parts wus furrin' parts, all said and 
done, and none on 'em wasn't old England' 


an assertion that I have difficulty in combating. 
Mrs. Shaw said much the same when I passed 
her at the back door, though she took on most 
about 'the dangers of the girt waters,' and 
seemed to think, while she has never seen the 
sea, that she knew all about them from a 
lifetime's acquaintanceship with the Severn 

" I like to hear them talk like that. It goes 
to show that when you have once won the 
hearts of the best of them, they will no more 
change their affections than Molly would, who 
lies by my side as I write. Of course it is 
only to be got by living with them and grow- 
ing up with them and theirs. And as you 
have very certainly done this, I trust some 
day you may find that affection stand you in 
good stead. You know these folk and all 
their ways and wants ; and when you come to 
live here in your turn as the members of our 
family have done, one after the other, for long 
your very familiarity with them and with the 
land, should teach you the line to take under 
all skies and all conditions of weather. 

" I am not afraid, anyway, and the one great 
joy of my heart is that I have you to follow 
me. You'll look after the people and the 
place, and keep up the traditions of the family 


no one better! If I am not here when you 
come back, don't forget what I have often told 
you ; and some day, when you have chosen a 
wife for yourself and that won't be long, I 
hope bring up the next generation on the 
same lines. Well, that's enough of that, and 
I will only add that all my hopes in such 
directions and family and home are everything 
to some of us all my hopes are centred in 

" Dear me ! when one comes to think of it 
how I envy you! It seems a long time back to 
the Crimean days and the 8th September '55. 
When we tumbled out of the trenches that 
day, you know, we had 260 yards to go to 
reach the Redan, and the ground as bare of 
cover as the back of my hand just whitish 
rock and stone and rubble and uphill pretty 
near all the way. They were flinging grape 
and canister into our teeth and our left flank at 
the same time, while the fire from the parapet 
took us on the right shoulder. I tell you it 
swept the ground like hailstones in one of our 
northerly gales on the Severn flats, and how 
anyone lived through it I can't say. We 
gained the ditch edge, however, and dropped 
in, and I don't think there had been much 
amiss with our line as we came on ; but we 


couldn't hold our ground and, worse luck, 
were presently recalled. 

" It was just in that open stretch that we 
suffered most, and the pity was that it was all 
thrown away. We lost two hundred and twenty- 
one in killed and wounded in the old Regiment 
alone, and out of eighteen officers of ours that 
went in, there were only two that came out 
alive and untouched your old father having 
the luck to be one of them. May it be so 
with you : I feel sure it will be. Good-bye. I 
won't say any more. Ever your affectionate 
father, RUPERT GORE." 

" DEAREST SON, Your father says he will 
send this over to Actover this evening, so that 
it may catch the late post and reach you before 
you start in the morning. After you left, we 
both went back to the library ; but your father 
kept repeating to himself, as he looked out of 
the window, just this ' As straight as a line 
he'll go as straight as a line I know that 
right enough ! ' He was talking to himself and 
looking across the park to the high woods. 
Of course I knew what he meant ; but it was 
too much for me, so I have come away here to 
be alone and to write this letter to you. 

" Don't think me very silly ; but it is not 


easy for a mother to part with a son, especially 
if she has only one ! Of course it is natural that 
you should wish to be off, and I try to remind 
myself that if mothers can't face such things in 
the way they should and give their sons to the 
fighting Services, as your father always calls 
them, there is not much hope for the Country. 
So I trust, dear boy, you will not think I was 
wanting in spirit in anything I said to you. I 
never thought yesterday that we should be 
parted so soon. It has all come so suddenly. 
I was looking forward to the rest of your leave, 
and to several things that I fancied might 
happen in the time. All the same, I had 
noticed that you and your father seemed to 
look for The Times more eagerly than usual, 
and think now that you were hiding things 
from me, which was very wrong of you both. 

" And now it is all over and you are actually 
gone, within two hours of that horrid telegram 
coming. Well, you are not the first of your 
family to leave these doors on much the same 
errand, and in that lies part of the pride of the 
place and of your name. I like to think that. 
Such a fresh call as this, seems to light old fires 
anew, and to bring into our lives again those 
whose doings are too easily forgotten. I know, 
in my case, it will send me round some of the 


old portraits with quite fresh interest, though 
that should never be. 

" And now as to yourself, my dearest son. 
I have no fear but that God will bless and 
protect you, and bring us all three together 
again in His good time, and when this service 
of yours is over. That He will help you in all 
that may befall you, I shall pray both night 
and morning, and many times a day. You 
will be always in my thoughts. I know that 
you will do your duty fearlessly, and as your 
father calls it * go straight ' ! You have always 
done so, from the first here, in your home. 
We all know that, and I above all, for perhaps 
it is often the mother who knows the son best. 
You have never given us trouble never once ! 
I think you will be pleased to feel that, now 
you are called away to scenes of which we 
women can know nothing. Some day, perhaps, 
you will be a great and good soldier, though I 
know you laugh at such ideas yourself. You 
are quite young yet ; but your time will come, 
and then, in my old age if indeed I and your 
father are not getting old already I shall be 
so proud of your doings, and thank God with 
a grateful heart, as I often do now, for such 
a son. 

" But here is your father, telling me I must 


stop, so perforce I must obey. He has just 
come in with a letter in his hand, looking 
rather guilty when I laughed at him for trying 
to make out it was all for my sake that he was 
sending this by horse messenger to Actover. 
I leave you to picture the expression on his 
face, when I guessed he had been writing to 
you himself. He has retreated at this moment 
to the big chair in the corner, where I have 
so often seen you lolling, with many of your 
favourite books about you ; and I believe he 
has gone there on purpose, and because it was 
your particular chair, for books are not the 
same living things to him that they have 
always been to you. If the truth must be told, 
you men are not half as brave as us on some 
occasions, and in spite of all your father says, 
I can see that he feels your going intensely, and 
is just keeping himself up by talking and doing 
anything that comes to hand. Once more, 
then, dearest boy your old mother's best of 
loves good-bye and good luck, and may you 
be brought safely back to us before so very long. 
Your loving mother, EDITH GORE." 

" Oct. 2nd, BRINDISI HARBOUR. The moon 
is shining not just on us, but miles and miles 
away out at sea, leaving a silver streak on the 


very limit of the horizon. By and by the light 
will work our way, and this harbour and town, 
and accumulated mass of shipping all along 
this wharf, will be flooded with it : the silver- 
grey clouds will have drifted slowly and 
solemnly before the faint airs that are their sole 
companions, to create further beautiful effects 
here, and for the benefit of all who care to 

" How I wish people would sometimes walk 
at night. They little know what they miss. 
Give them pavements and gas lamps, and they 
will trudge, shop-gazing, till they drop. Sug- 
gest their leaving their houses after dark in the 
country to come over the hills and look down 
at the moonlit valley and the mists that hang 
at the bends of the river ; that float here and 
float there and are gone again, like the life of 
a man to enter the woods and listen to its 
many sounds, in storm or calm ; to tell the 
trees in winter by the forms of their dark limbs 
against the starlit heavens ere the moon is 
up, or by their voices in the winds to walk 
through the glades in summer's shortest nights, 
when the warmth rises from the ground where 
the sun has beat all day, and Nature seems to 
be panting in the stillness to watch the golden 
glow, where the sun went down, travelling now 


from the West to the North, and from the 
North onward to the East again, to be turned 
once more to silver at the dawn of another 
day ; suggest their leaving their houses and 
seeing some of these, and a myriad other 
things that are only to be seen and heard and 
felt in the night hours, is to be thought at least 
strange ! More's the pity. 

" October $rd. Monday morning. We left 
Brindisi about midnight, and are now steaming 
straight for Port Said. I have just been look- 
ing through the itinerary of my journey, as 
made out in London on Friday. I could not 
have done it at all, had it not been for the 
extraordinary kindness of the P. & O. Com- 
pany and Cook's. They seemed to take quite 
a personal interest in the matter. That's the 
best of going to great firms. You get the 
best of everything. Of course you pay for 
it ; but the best pays, whether you are going 
a long journey, and hope, as I do, to reach 
the end without losing a minute, or merely 
want to take a long walk in the best shoe- 

" Well, this is how they tabled it out for me 
to begin at the beginning : 

" Leave London, Friday evening, September 


" Reach Brindisi, Sunday evening, and leave 
about rfiidnight. 

11 Port Said, morning of 6th October. 

<( Suez, on the 7th. 

" Aden, early morning of the nth. 

" Bombay, on the 16th. 1 

All depends upon the hour we reach Bombay. 
That's the crucial point, because, otherwise, I 
may miss the Punjab Mail, leaving at 5.15 P.M. 
If I do so, there will be the clear loss of a day, 
and I shall be kicking my heels in the streets 
of Bombay. From there to Peshawar takes 
two days and a few hours, when of course the 
fun will begin. But no doubt letters at Aden, 
or somewhere, will tell me what then. If I 
am lucky I ought to reach the Regiment soon 
after the 2Oth, and my leave is not up till 
November 2nd. 

" October ^tk. We are rather a miscellaneous 
crowd on board : hardly any soldiers, the 
majority being bound for other places than 
India, and a few going no farther than Egypt. 
We have already started cricket and other 
games, and great fun they are. There is also 

1 It must be remembered that these dates refer to seventeen 
years ago, the P. & O. Company informing the writer that, 
since 1897, the acceleration in contract service outwards, be- 
tween Brindisi and Bombay, now amounts to seventy-four 


a small piano in the saloon, and I go and 
strum on it sometimes in the afternoon. The 
worst is, people will come and bother me to 
play jigs I never heard of, and just when one 
wants to be alone. I try to accommodate them 
as best I can. 

" October 6th. Port Said. Early morning. 
What a place ! Looks as if the dregs of the 
whole world had been swept in here and left 
to rot in the heat. 

" We were getting on all right in the Canal 
till this afternoon, when we were pulled up. 
A large steamer aground ahead somewhere ; 
and here we have been for nearly two hours, 
with high sandy banks on either side of us. 
It is rather maddening, for I keep counting 
up the days and the hours and the minutes 
and it may well be a matter of minutes to me. 

" October *]th. We are just passing Suez, 
late to-night, and have already lost some time. 
We are getting up a concert for to-morrow 
evening, and are going to have the piano on 
deck. I wonder what a concert will be like in 
the heat of the Red Sea. I am singing 'Tom 
Bowling,' for the benefit of the crew and I 
hope, for the passengers as well. Surely Tom 
Bowling himself is one of the immortals : he'll 
never die, though his soul has gone aloft many 


years now. He certainly played his part, and 
left an indelible mark behind him. Wish I 
could ! 

" October loth. The heat has been great, 
and the wind being with us has made it ten 
times worse. A dreadful thing happened 
yesterday. One of the quartermasters had 
gone up to the main cross-trees, and fell from 
there into the sea. A boat was lowered at 
once, and the ship was stopped. I shall never 
forget seeing his cap afterwards, floating on 
the water where he went down. - Some say 
he must have struck his head against one of 
the open ports, and so sunk at once. Anyway, 
after rowing about for nearly an hour, the cap 
was the only trace brought back by the boat. 
He leaves a wife and four children, and we 
are getting up a subscription for them. We 
always fly to money. Very naturally. In 
many cases it is our only way of showing 
sympathy. We have put off our second con- 
cert. To-morrow we shall be at Aden. We 
ought to reach there very early in the morning ; 
but we shan't, probably, till after mid-day. 

" October i \th. Aden. Here we are, at last, 
and about half a day late. Can't be helped. 
One good thing is that I have got the letter 
I wanted, and have read it again and again. 


I feel quite in heart, though I have evidently 
missed a lot of the preliminaries. I think I 
shall be in time to reach them before the 
fighting begins : will try my level best. Wish 
to goodness the ship would go on. Every 
minute may make a difference." 

The letter referred to is the first of those I 
wrote in the hope of reaching him on his 
journey out. I found it with the others at 
the time, and give it here : 

" It was no use my writing to Port Said : 
the letter would only, I feel sure, have missed 
you there, so I shall try my second string, and 
hope this may reach you at Aden. Don't 
forget that another letter will be waiting for 
you at Bombay, to tell you the latest. You 
must call for it at Messrs. Grindlay, Groom's 
offices in Hornby Road. 

" Here we are at Peshawar, right enough. 
The concentration had been going on for some 
time before our arrival, and also at Jamrud, so 
that the country, for miles round, seems alive 
with troops and transport and all the impedi- 
menta of a modern army. You would be 
hugely interested in it, and it would take your 
fancy. It is all on such a big scale, and the 


gradual growth of this great force, slowly 
perfecting its arrangements that it may reach 
death grips with pretty well certainty of 
victory, would fire your mind with all sorts 
of romantic ideas. 

" There is no doubt that we are coming into 
touch with big things, and to miss these would 
break your heart. Bad enough your missing 
all we are at now so much of which reminds 
me of our talk of tented fields when we were 
boys and devoured all the books we could get 
on the Punjab wars, the Mutiny and the rest. 
I got your wire all right, and was thankful to 
hear that you had started directly mine reached 
you. Every hour is bringing you nearer to 
your goal now. 

"Of course I am brim full of knowledge. 
Perhaps you would like a little of it. The first 
thing that strikes one, not having seen such 
shows as this before, is, as I say, the stupen- 
dous scale on which everything is being done. 
It makes all one's previous experiences in peace 
time seem quite insignificant. This is the real 
thing. There is no doubt of that. 

" First of all, our fighting force is to be 34,000 
men, when all have come in, with not far short 
of the same number of non-combatants, and 
about 50,000 transport animals. That's a 


jolly lot of mouths to fill every day and keep 
supplied with everything, from ammunition to 
firewood, food, and fodder. To start with, we 
have to get the whole crowd through the 
Kohat Pass, as our three columns are to 
concentrate at Kohat, at the first go off. 

" There is nothing to be got in the country 
we have before us. It is God forsaken, 
they tell us, and the most difficult country in 
the world. Only two Europeans have ever 
visited it, and these never came back. There 
are no roads, only goat tracks at best, with 
miles of mountain torrents, where the water 
rushes over rocks and boulders and is icy. In 
the daytime it is often blazing hot, and at 
night beastly cold. The gorges are only wide 
enough for two animals to move abreast, and 
occasionally not that. They are also very 
steep, with precipitous descents. And, mind 
you, a plucky enemy holding every defile and 
occupying every ridge, and knowing every inch 
of the country perfectly. 

" These Afridis and Orakzai carry the latest 
breechloading rifles ; which, moreover, we 
have taught many of them how to use. They 
are grand marksmen and have plenty of 
ammunition, for having lately got in their 
autumn harvest, money has been plentiful 


and they have been free to indulge their 
fancy in such directions to the full. 

" No doubt you saw, before you left, that 
the Malakan had been attacked ; that these 
Johnnies had actually invested Chakdara on 
the Swat River ; and that all the tribes on this 
side of the Panjkora were up. Well, we are 
going to teach them manners, though some 
say it is not going to be exactly a walk over. 
Afridis are fighters by instinct, being simply 
born to the job and loving it ; and to add to 
their natural love of fight, and by way of in- 
flaming them, a notice has been sent round by 
their mullahs to say that this expedition of ours 
is a war of extermination against them, and 
that we mean wiping them out for good. 
Meanwhile, as they can, it is said, put not 
less than 40,000 fighting men against us of 
the quality described, I should not think 
* wiping out ' would be exactly easy, even 
if it were our way of doing things. 

" There are three columns, and ours is the 
main column, under the chief. It is to be 
made up of 8 Regiments of British Infantry, 
12 of Native Infantry, 6 Mountain Batteries, 
i Regiment of Native Cavalry, and 5 companies 
of Sappers. We are to advance over the 
Samana into the heart of the Afridi country 


to Tirah, a country where no British Force 
has ever been and we are told we are to 
sweep away all opposition as we go. 

" We may almost certainly be first opposed 
at the Sampagha and other passes leading into 
the Rajgul and Maidan valleys. The former 
is nearly due north of our line of forts on the 
Samana. The approach is fairly easy, they 
say, and the position can be turned on either 
flank. Once we are over that, we shall have 
below us the summer quarters of the Afridis 
the southern valleys of Tirah, and almost 
immediately afterwards, we should be in the 
very heart of the tribal country. 

11 Well ; that's what we have before us. Our 
force is said to be the very flower of the army 
in India. Come along quick and make up the 
nosegay, and select the kind of bud you are 
going to be ! We have grand times before us 
simply grand ! Mind you don't lose an instant 
anywhere. When you have done with the 
ship and the trains, come at a gallop all the 
rest of the way, till you pick us up ; and when 
any horse or pony you have begged, borrowed, 
or stolen, is blown and can't carry you another 
yard, come on at a double 'steady double,' 
mind you, and ' no running,' as our first drill- 
sergeant use to say. He was much too fat to 


do either himself. I know your staying powers 
well enough, and can see you, now, tumbling 
into Chalvey at the School Jump in the Steeple- 
chase, but winning it all the same ! " 

"October \2th. About four days more and 
we shall be in Bombay, and, if I have luck, in 
five days after that I ought to reach them. 
That should just about do it. Some of the 
folk on board have begun to chaff me about 
my anxiety to get on, and last night one of 
the company in the smoking-room remarked 
to the rest ' I have never seen a fellow in 
such a hurry to be killed, in all my life ! ' All 
the others laughed, so of course I laughed 
too. At the same time, the idea of being 
killed is quite a new one to me. It never 
entered my head, and I certainly don't want 
to be. 

"When we all laughed, another fellow added 
' The truth is, he is tired of life ! ' That's 
a funny idea, too. Life! why, life is the 
finest thing in the universe. Surely, though, 
one isn't meant to spoil it all by taking stock 
of risks and dwelling on possible wounds ? 
That is just to stifle effort at the start. And 
as to being tired of life, I always think of 
that remark of Goethe's ' A man will be tired 


of anything sooner than of life, and no one 
reaches the goal towards which he set out ; 
for however long a man may be prosperous 
in his career, still, at last, and often when in 
sight of the hoped-for object, he falls into 
a grave which God knows who dug for him, 
and is reckoned as nothing.' 

" I think that is about right, so far as I 
can remember it and put it into English. The 
doctrine is rather depressing. If, however, we 
are in reality seldom able to attain our desires 
in their entirety and all the rest that Goethe 
says here is true that is no reason why we 
should not have an aim. To have an aim 
and to be prepared to risk all in its attainment, 
leads to happiness. I don't know if I am 
wrong, but I always think it best to go forward, 
without allowing the final, inevitable shadow 
to intrude upon the way. Life is given to 
be spent spend it ! 

" October \^th. We are going to have our 
last entertainment to-night. Two men are doing 
that dualogue that we have often had at home 
two old Gloucestershire women in poke bonnets, 
telling their gossip to one another. Only one 
of the men comes from the County, and I don't 
quite see how the other is going to manage 
the dialect. You must start young to acquire 


that and the inimitable pronunciation ; there is 
no getting it later. 

" I hoped to have stuck to the piano, so far 
as I was personally concerned, and quite enough 
too ; but several voted there should be reciting, 
so I have been persuaded to give them some- 
thing in that line. I am sure I don't want to, 
and think they will be sorry they asked me, 
for I have found a copy of Browning in the 
ship's library, and have polished up my recol- 
lection of a poem of his that I once had to 
declaim in School Speeches, on the 4th June 
at Eton. It is ' Abt Vogler (after he has been 
extemporising upon the musical instrument of 
his invention),' and I have still a vivid recol- 
lection of how my dear old Tutor tried to teach 
me not to miss the points, and especially in those 
two wonderful stanzas, the ninth and tenth : 

Therefore to whom turn but to thee, the ineffable Name ? 

Builder and maker, thou, of houses not made with hands ! 

What, have fear of change from thee who art ever the same ? 

Doubt that thy power can fill the heart that thy power 

expands ? 
There shall never be one lost good ! What was shall live 

as before ; 

The evil is null, is nought, is silence implying sound ; 
What was good shall be good, with, for evil, so much good 


On the earth the broken arcs ; in the heaven, a perfect 


All we have willed or hoped or dreamed of good shall 

exist ; 
Not its semblance, but itself; no beauty, nor good, nor 

Whose voice has gone forth, but each survives for the 


When eternity affirms the conception of an hour. 
The high that proved too high, the heroic for earth too 


The passion that left the ground to lose itself in the sky, 
Are music sent up to God by the lover and the bard ; 
Enough that he heard it once : we shall hear it by-and-by. 

" I must finish this off for the present. To- 
morrow will be a regular rush. We are certain 
to be a good bit behind time, and I fear it 
will be afternoon before we are in. I don't 
mind how late it is, so long as there is enough 
margin left for me to catch that Punjab Mail 
at 5.15. 

" I was told last night by an old Colonel 
who is on his way to Madras, that the thing 
above all others for me to do is to avoid the 
Embarking Officer. If I go near anyone to 
do with the local Head Quarters' Staff in 
Bombay, he says, I shall almost certainly be 
caught and made use of to take detachments 
of troops up country, and thereby be let in 
for a loss of many days. As I am still on 
leave, there is no reason why I should put my 
neck into such a noose, so I shall take his 


advice. The thing to do is to get to the 
Regiment : I shall be safe then. 

" Our entertainment went well this evening, 
and the funny thing to me was that even the 
crew seemed to appreciate ' Abt Vogler.' I 
should have thought it would have been over 
their heads, and the heads, too, of many others 
present. The applause, however, was tre- 
mendous, and when it ended we all sang ( God 
save the Queen.' So there's an end of all 
that. It has been a cheery, jolly time, and I 
suppose we shall all be scattered to-morrow. 

" To-morrow! thereis alwaysthe to-morrow, 
thank Heaven ! We talk glibly of the finality 
and the end of things, but surely that is quite 
false. The course is continuous ; the work to 
be done here, and there, without end. No one 
knows when his appointed task shall be judged 
as finished here, and when he shall be set one 
that is new elsewhere. Young or old, the 
uncertainty is the same for all. Better fix the 
eyes on the. common goal, without over much 
questioning. And if the hopes we cling to so 
wistfully as the days draw on, leave us now 
and then feeling very tired, we may rest assured 
that the sense of weariness will vanish when 
the sun of time goes to its setting and that 
which is of eternity shall rise. 


"It is getting ever so late and I must stop. 
The ship is quite silent, except for the eternal 
throb of the screw and, at intervals, the tread 
of one of the watch on deck. How ' Abt 
Vogler ' runs in one's head ! 

And I blunt it into a ninth, and I stand on alien ground, 
Surveying awhile the heights I rolled from into the deep ; 

Which, hark, I have heard and done, for my resting place 

is found, 
The C major of this life : so now I will try to sleep." 


" October i6tk. Did any man ever have such 
a narrow shave ! I just managed it, and that 
was all. The low-lying land was not sighted 
till tiffin time. That was bad enough. But 
we simply crawled when we got round Colaba 
Point, and it was past 4 o'clock when we 
dropped anchor. I felt inclined to jump into 
the water and swim ashore. It was a job to 
get a boat. Managed it at last. Landed at 
the Apollo Bunda, kit and all, having previously 
separated what I wanted with me from what 
must be sent after me to Peshawar. The rest 
comes out from England by next mail. 

" When at last I got ashore, I took a tickha- 
gharri, and by bad luck dropped in for the 
stupidest driver on earth. He actually drove 
me into Apollo Street, which he must have 
known was up for repairs ; as indeed we found, 
to my great annoyance. So we had to go 
back, and got into a street called Rampart Row, 

and from that into Churchgate Street. A 



clock struck five as I reached Grindlay's offices 
in Hornby Road, and it was several minutes 
before I could get anyone to attend to me. 
Arranged everything there ; got the letter I 
expected ; jumped into the gharri again ; made 
the stupidest driver on earth leather his pony ; 
and ran for this train just reaching it in time, 
and my kit being flung in after me when it 
was already on the move. It is all right now; 
and I am in India, and on the GIF. But 
just fancy if I had missed it ! Quite possibly 
it might have altered my whole career, 

" From this letter, it seems I may just reach 
them in time, and no more. I have read it 
over and over again, and tried to plot it out to 
the last minute. We are due at Agra at 5.45 
to-morrow evening ; Delhi at 9 P.M. ; Umballa 
at 2.43 A.M. that's the day after to-morrow ; 
Amritzar at 7.57 the same morning ; Lahore 
at 9 A.M. ; Rawalpindi at 3.50 P.M., and Peshawar 
at 8.13 that same evening. One good thing ; 
we seem to be going faster than in the old 
1 Indus' : there are things to measure pace by 
now, and there are none at sea. It is all 

The letter that reached him in Bombay was 
my second, the last of the five that had been 



tied up separately with the penny account book 
years ago. It lies before me once again at 
this moment, and runs thus : 

" I do hope you got my letter at Aden, for it 
will have told you things that could hardly 
have reached you before you left England. I 
fancy now that you should be in Bombay in 
less than a week, when you will of course get 

" We have been having a jolly spell of hard 
work, and have covered some ground, too, 
between whiles, for here we are in Shinwari, 
our advanced base. But I must go back a bit. 
After leaving Peshawar, our column came 
right through from Bara and Jamrud, and 
reached the foot of the Kohat Pass on the 9th 
October. The next day we crossed and got 
all our lot through to Kohat, doing the 
eighteen miles without a hitch. The other two 
columns followed us on the nth and i2th, and 
we all joined up and were ready for our next 

"The Transport is a sight, and yet they 
say we haven't enough ! There are animals of 
all sorts ponies, mules, donkeys, camels 
together with every kind of vehicle, from 
bullock waggons to ordinary go-downs. The 


whole of this show is in charge of some 
17,000 drivers of kinds. And all this that our 
army may live, and what's more, fight ; with a 
place for the damaged in the way of a liberal 
supply of dhoolies and full hospital equipment. 
But you are bound to see all this for yourself. 
The constant stream must continue, to and fro 
on our line of communications, whatever we 
may be doing ourselves. You will find it pretty 
hot, and at night fairly cold don't forget this. 
" As soon as our huge mobilisation was 
complete at Kohat, we left there and followed 
the river to Ustazai, half way to Hangu a 
distance of about a dozen miles, you will find it. 
There is a good camp there, standing on a 
conical hill, looking down a fertile valley. 
You can't mistake it. We crossed the Kohat 
River near Ratsan, the travelling not being bad 
from there all the way to Hangu, and past 
Darban and on to Kai. We were going 
North, after leaving Kohat bare, rocky-look- 
ing country for the most part, the Samana 
ridge stretching out before us, with Fort 
Lockhart, away to the right, when we reached 
Kai. From this last, you will only have about 
twelve miles left to get to this place, and I 
only hope to heaven that you will come in 
before we go forward. I cannot say when the 


real advance will be, exactly, these points 
being naturally kept dark ; but it can't be 
many days now, and we shan't have far to go 
before the fun begins. 

" At present we are still busy concentrating 
here, and, what is more, gradually accumulat- 
ing twenty days' stores for 20,000 men. Our 
camp stands on two conical hills, and we are 
having enough to do in putting it into a state 
of defence : it doesn't do, apparently, to hold 
these Afridi chaps too cheap. Apart from 
convoy duty, what we are doing now there- 
fore, and more particularly, is building zaribas 
round the extremities, with wire entangle- 
ments in the valley between. In some ways, 
we have had rather a rough time ; but it has 
been awfully jolly and I have enjoyed every 
step of the eighty or ninety miles, or whatever 
it is we have come on our ten toes, since 
leaving Peshawar. The only thing that I 
have constantly regretted is that you were not 
along, and all the fellows say the same. But 
I must tell you what I can about our friends, 
or rather enemies, in front, and also something 
of the kind of job we can see plainly enough 
lies ahead of us. You will know, then, all 
that we do, and will be able to take your own 


" We have already come into touch. On 
the nth, a working party of Pioneers and 
1000 Punjabis went over the Changru Kotal 
and were fired on. Luckily we had some 
other troops handy and a mountain battery, 
and the enemy were shelled with severe loss, 
and with no casualties on our side. The 
village of Dargai was seen to be crowded, 
and we know that large forces are concen- 
trated in the Khanki valley beyond. The 
enemy have apparently posted themselves in 
front of the Shinwari position. 

"The ascent from Shinwari, we are told, 
looks easy from the plain, but in reality is a 
steep, rugged, almost impassable hillside, with 
no road, only sheep or goat tracks and as rough 
as you like. Dargai, which is about six miles 
from this, and which we rather gather is to 
be our first objective, and from which we have 
to bundle these fellows out somehow or other, 
is a good deal higher than the Changru Kotal. 
On one side there is a sheer precipice, and 
there is only one point of access not a very 
comfortable look-out, seeing that this approach 
is fully commanded from the ridge above, 
where the enemy have built themselves in 
behind pretty solid sangars. 

" Well, that is all I have to say. I have 


been writing this at odd moments to-day and 
a bit hurriedly ; but I am keen you should 
know exactly where we are and certain land- 
marks that may help you. You will want the 
inside of three days at least to reach us from 
Peshawar. Your only chance is to come on 
independently ; to be a little mutinous ; and 
to pick up a pony for yourself, by hook or 
crook. I can only say again do your level 
best. We have a grand chance before us, and 
I would not have you absent for all the wealth 
of India!" 

"October ijth. I have had the most amaz- 
ing piece of luck. That sentence ' You will 
want the inside of three days at least to reach 
us from Peshawar' has been running in my 
head all day. It means that, via Peshawar, I 
could not expect to get to this place, Shinwari, 
till the 2ist, at the earliest, and very possibly 
not till some days later, seeing that getting 
through the Kohat Pass, crowded as it is, 
must be no joke. However, if there are such 
things as good angels, I feel sure mine must 
be attending me pretty closely, for as luck 
would have it, a spare, dried-up looking, lean 
man, with quick, dark eyes and a keen face, 
entered my carriage at Agra, and we have 


been talking ever since. He is one of the 
Indian Civils, and was once at Kohat. He 
asked me where I was going up country, and 
I told him my story as well as I could. He 
did not thaw at once, though the wonder is 
that anyone can be cold at all in this heat ; 
but he became quite genial after a bit, and has 
given me no end of help. 

" The outcome of it is that I am not going 
to Peshawar now. Think of that ! He says 
that if I once land in there, the chance is I 
shall take a week to get on, if I ever do. I 
must leave the train at Rawalpindi to-morrow 
evening, and get another to take me to a place 
called Khushalgarh. By this means I shall 
save enormously, and avoid the main stream 
on the lines of communication. Khushalgarh, 
he says, is only thirty-two miles from Kohat. 
I feel that what with the heat and this unex- 
pected stroke of luck, I shall hardly be able 
to sleep to-night. This new-found friend says 
he will tell me more to-morrow. He is going 
as far as Lahore, and there will be plenty of 
time in the morning to talk the matter out. 

"October i8M. I think I have got it all. 
My new-found friend had some maps with 
him, and by the help of these and his own 
intimate knowledge of the country, was actually 


able to give me the distances from Kohat to 
Shinwari. The whole is 46 miles, he says, 
by Usterzai 12 miles ; Hangu 13 miles ; Kai 
15 miles; and from there, 6 miles will land 
me at Shinwari. He reckons it would take 
about five hours by tonga to get from Khushal- 
garh to Kohat, and says that there would 
be no difficulty about getting on alone from 
this last, as there are pretty certain to be 
depots every march ; that is, about every fifteen 

" We have just parted at Lahore, both 
hoping that we shall meet again some day. 
I could not thank him enough for all his help. 
It just makes all the difference to me, and I 
feel fairly sure now that I shall be able to 
get through before they leave Shinwari : I'll 
have a jolly good try, anyway. Delhi, Lahore, 
Umballa! Household words with us, and 
yet, in general atmosphere and appearance, so 
utterly unlike what one pictured them. The 
truth is, there is no conjuring up a true picture 
of such a land as this. You must have visited 
the East to realise it ; and to smell the smell 
of the East once is to know it ever afterwards 

"We shall be at Rawalpindi in about an 
hour, so I must get my few things together a 


bit. I wish I knew my way about better or 
rather, knew my way at all ; also that I had 
some Hindustani at command. The only two 
words I know, as it happens, are jeldie jao 
the equivalent, I believe, for ' push on,' or 
' shove along ' ; don't matter which, so long 
as they'll do it ! 

" October \<$th. Usterzai. Just conceive the 
news that reached me on getting to Khushal- 
garh late yesterday evening! I had the bad 
luck to run against one of those strange indi- 
viduals very rarely met with in our Service 
who seems to take a delight in the morbid, and 
loves to deal in the depressing. If it is any 
satisfaction to him, he certainly made me feel 
quite sick. 

"It seems that yesterday, the force, or part 
of it, at Shinwari, left at 4 A.M., and that by 
9.30 the batteries had already come into action 
against the Dargai ridge. At noon, a rush 
was made and the crest was carried. By this 
time it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Shinwari 
was eight miles away, over roads only recently 
made, and the little water to be had was three 
miles distant, apparently. So the main part 
of the force retired, and the rest followed, 
between 4 and 5, when the sun was sinking. 
What happened after that he did not know, 


no further news having come through. He 
was, however, of opinion that it was the worst 
thing that had occurred in India for genera- 
tions, and that to such fellows as these Afridis, 
a retirement on our part meant that they had 
beaten us. He added a lot more in the same 
strain, finishing up with ( You seem to be 
in a confounded hurry ; but you are too late 
altogether too late ! ' If I had not been a 
newcomer, and he much my senior, I should 
have told him what I thought of him. 

" There was no getting on that night, as the 
tonga only runs during the daytime. It was 
already past midnight, and so I ate some of 
the cold chops and bread I had packed my 
haversack with at Rawalpindi Station, took a 
drink of water, and then rolled myself in my 
blanket under the lee of a wall and slept till 

"The tonga left just before light, and I was 
the only one travelling by it. The tonga 
wallah was a good fellow and shoved along 
well ; cracked his short whip with a long lash, 
made the most extraordinary sounds at the 
ponies, and occasionally blew a bugle-shaped 
horn. I should have blown it too ; but hardly 
felt in the humour, and kept asking myself 
what the real truth was about this retirement, 


and whether there was any truth in it at all. 
It seemed, as I thought it over, that I must 
have certainly missed something, and that was 
depressing. But if so, there was all the more 
reason for redoubling my efforts. We got an 
extra pony hitched to the outside of the shafts 
at one dak, and at another place a third was 
put on in front to help up the hills, for our 
load was heavy ; both the other seats being 
crammed with things, and odds and ends hung 
on anywhere, and over the wheels as well. 

"We had reached Kohat before noon a 
rum-looking place, with a wall round part of 
it, about twelve feet high, and with an amphi- 
theatre of hills behind. Much of the country 
seems just a savage waste, with rocks and 
stones everywhere, and brushwood formed of 
all manner of thorns, mimosa, and also wild 
olive. A few patches of cultivation in the 
lower lands, and here and there a grassy glade, 
with mulberry trees, and now and then a large 
walnut with a stone seat under it, put there by 
the natives. Great mountains covered with 
snow in the distance, with two great peaks 
higher than the rest. 

" Though nearly the whole force had left 
Kohat, there was a busy scene there. The 
first thing I tried to do was to get a pony 


somehow. Once again my luck stood me in 
good stead, or that good angel of mine, for I 
chanced upon a mule battery that was going 
forward this very afternoon, and got the Major 
commanding it to let me come too. So here 
I am with them, for the moment, and have 
reached this place, Usterzai, twelve miles on 
my way. 

" The bad news was confirmed at Kohat ; 
but I can't make out if the Regiment was en- 
gaged. Nobody knew. It is said that the 
retirement was a ticklish affair ; the enemy 
coming on again, and the desultory fighting 
continuing throughout the greater part of the 
night of the eighteenth. Retire ! What could 
the Regiment have thought? It is horrible, 
though there was obviously no help for it. 

" I am writing this with difficulty. The sun 
has set ; but the moon is now rising. The 
effect has been splendid ; the summit of the 
peaks on one side being lit up, and the cliffs 
on the other left in steel-blue shadow. I can't 
make out the stars at all ; but on such occasions 
as this, a man has to be 'his own star,' I suppose. 
It is a stern, rugged country, and gets worse 
and worse after leaving Kohat ; the road follow- 
ing the left bank of the Kohat River all the way 
we have come, at present, and ascending all 


the way, too. Shinwari, they say, is over 2000 
feet above Kohat, and Dargai 2000 feet above 

" It is terrible loss of time sitting here in 
this way, but it can't be helped. I am writing 
by moonlight now, and the men are lighting 
fires. There are the sounds of the camp on 
all sides fellows laughing and talking, horses 
clearing their nostrils, the champing of bits, and 
the continual rumble of wheels, someone > chop- 
ping firewood, and another working at a field 
forge. The smoke of the fires drifts off, and 
as the scent comes my way, it reminds me of 
Denton and the fires the men used to make in 
the clearings at home. 

" I have just been having a talk with the 
Major, and have told him what I want to do. 
He is an Eton fellow, and has found out what 
little there is to know about me, and I have 
found out all about him. At first, he laughed 
at my idea that I should push on to-night. 
But he is going to back me all the same, for 
the sake of the bond between us. 

" One thing he tells me, and this is that 
these Afridi beggars are hard to get level 
with, and never lose a chance. They move 
infernally quickly, and it is difficult to see them 
on the rough hillsides. Flanking parties may 


think they clear the whole ground ; but directly 
they are gone, these born fighters come back 
again, having hidden themselves in holes or 
behind boulders. He says they always ' snipe ' 
at a single fellow, though they rarely give them- 
selves away by doing so at a big party. On 
this line of communications, he thinks I shall 
be all right; but once off it, I shall have to 
look out. He was on the Frontier, in the show 
of two years ago, so knows all about it. 

" I am going ahead shortly, and start in an 
hour. The Major has gone off now to get me 
a good feed, and also to feed an extra pony of 
his own, that I am to leave at the Field Park 
at Shinwari, when I get there. With decent 
riding, he says, he is certain the animal will do 
the job, if anything on four legs can. Of course 
all this is hugely exciting. I revel in it just 
what I have longed for for years ! 

"It seems that the road continues on this 
side of the river for another two miles, and 
then crosses and runs along the South of the 
Samana range of hills all the rest of the way. 
I must do it. The distance is only about thirty- 
four miles, and I mean to try my best. Only 
one thing more if anything happens to me, I 
trust the Regiment will believe I have tried to 
be in my place : that's all ! " 


Such is the last entry in this tattered book 
of many memories. 

"Yes, Sir," replied the Sergeant, drawing 
himself up and saluting " Yes, Sir ; we seen 
him comin' along the road yonder, leading a 
pony, and just as it was turning light. The 
Regiment hadn't been gone well, not half an 
hour, it hadn't. Ther' was smoke still showing 
from the fires, and some un I forgets who 
'twas asks th' officer if he'd have a cup of 
coffee, as ther' was a drop or two of it lef . 
But he turns round and says, with a bit of a 
laugh * I won't go for to trouble about that,' 
he says ' got no time ; thank you ! Which 
way to the Field Park ? ' Then he asks ' An' 
which be my best road to overtake 'em ? ' So 
I showed un, an' says ' Yonder, Sir, see 
that's the line of 'em, a-windin' away round 
yon bluff.' 

" He jus' seemed to smile, then ; jumps on 
his pony, and touches un with his heels and 
was off. ' Thank you, Sergeant/ he calls ' I 
shall catch 'em yet ! ' An' that's the very last 
as I seen of un, for he had the look o' one as 
wanted to get on, an' no time to talk. No, he 
didn't look partic'l?r tired, he didn't. His 


eyes wer' as bright as a child's, and he wore 
a merry smile on the face of un, he did. Well, 
one of mi' own men said as much, arterwards, 
an' as he looked like one likely to be doin' 
execution, if so be he come to close quarters 
and got in ! " 

That was all I was able to gather in that 
direction. It was quite . sufficient. He had 
done his last ride, evidently saving his pony 
as much as he could, and timing his journey 
to within twenty minutes. I wish now he had 
missed us by an hour, and also wish many 
another thing. I have often reckoned up 
those minutes, and ended the same way a 
journey of many thousand miles, at so many 
miles an hour, and brought down, in the end, 
to yards and minutes. Missing us by an hour 
would certainly have made a difference ; but 
so would half an hour, or a quarter, or any 
fraction of the minutes themselves. A little 
less eagerness on his part, another hour's delay 
on the voyage, missing the mail at Bombay or 
that friend in the train, the refusal of the loan 
of that pony for the night ride anything, 
everything would have made a difference. 
No ; it was just that twenty minutes, with the 
added time it took him to deliver the pony 
where he had promised to it was just that 


that did it, and brought him to the fatal spot 
to the fraction of a second, to meet a random 
shot. The line of thought has been followed, 
a thousand times, till it has come to be a tangled 
skein refusing all unravelling. Best leave it. 

A long trail of dead and wounded were 
being brought down the steep descent from 
the summit of the kotal, after the second fight 
at Dargai, on the 2Oth October, 1897. Some 
of the wounded were being carried in one way, 
some in another, down the zig-zag track and 
between the rocks and boulders on men's 
backs, in men's arms, on their crossed hands : 
so, too, the dead, slung as best might be, 
silently and with reverence. 

The long trail wound its way down, under 
great cliffs, down hazardous slopes, through 
scrub that tore clothes and caught at every- 
thing. Below us lay the valleys and ravines 
of a savage, desolate mountain region ; behind 
us, the scene, still warm, of one of the finest 
fights the Frontier had ever known ; and with 
us, this tale of dead and wounded that had 
gone to make the victory that scarcely more 
than an hour before had been a living, eager 
throng, going forward silently, with light in 



the eyes and a catch in the breath, till of a 
sudden, in one quarter, the pipes rolled out 
the slogan, and in another men broke into a 

It chanced that I was detailed to go back 
with others, as escort to one portion of the 
convoy of ambulance waggons, carts, and 
dhoolies, for the camp at Shinwari. We had 
gone some way, and I had been walking on 
the off-side of a waggon in which, with others, 
were two wounded brother officers, when one 
of the escort came round, saying " There's 
one of ours a-hailin' of us down the nullah'' 
The convoy was halted for the moment, owing 
to a block in front, and I dropped down to see 
what was wrong, for two were on the ground 
there, one of whom was kneeling on one knee 
and waving his hand. 

"Ay," said this one, when I reached him; 
and for a moment I paid no attention to his 
words : they seemed to come from a long way 
off, and to belong to another world. " Ay," 
he said, again " the vara fust shot as was 
fired. Then ther' was a sing out ' Sthretcher 
this way ! ' and I dropped back ; and ther' er 

" Ther' was no call for the like when I got 
to un, as I could see sthretcher or naught no 


call whativer! He'd put in his time. Ah, 
reached us ay ! come up at a run, he did ; 
and soon arter it showed full light. Ther' was 
scarce a single wan amongst us noticed un 
scarce a single wan any more than us took 
count o' that shot, or knew'd wher' it come 
fra' ! " 

" They may try mi, now, for not bein' in mi 
place they may try me bi Rigimental, or 
Disthrict, or Gineral they may try me by any 
bally court they like ! Do you think I haven't 
took full punishment a'ready, through missin' 
o' the finest fight as iver wus ? Do you judge 
as that's not enough for any man, for that 
matter?" and the words seemed to hiss 
through his teeth, as if he were torn by con- 
flicting emotions. 

" Ah ! " he went on " the Regiment's had 
a belly full of fightin' to-day, an' over yonder 
goes the truth o' that, as I can see. But who 
was a-goin' to leave un lying here, stark 
though he wer' not me ! not for all the best 
o' the fightin' as could come, and though it 
wer' promised to last from dark till dark come 
back again. 

" Do yer think as I would leave he to be 
mauled by them hell-thieves that hides and 
hides and we can never finds, and is as nimble 


with their knives as they little Goorkha chaps 
yonder with their kookries ? No fear ! They 
shouldn't niver touch he. He wer' the bes' 
friend as iver any on us had the bes' friend ; 
and if it warn't for he, I'd be doin' time now 
ay, doin' time now." 

I recall looking at the man's face at that 
point. I had been dazed till then. His words 
came hot, and quicker and quicker, as though 
the temper rose in him. He had square jaws, 
a bull-neck, and powerful shoulders, and much 
blood had dried on one cheek. Then I knew. 
It was Joe Clancy, and he wore a full 
Corporal's stripes upon his arm. He only said 
a few words after that. We had other work in 

" They sniped the two of us, as 'twas," he 
continued later, in answer to a question " Ay, 
sniped the two of us, till they got me in the 
shoulder an' the ribs. That's naught ! So I 
draw'd un down here behind these stones for 
a bit o' shelter draw'd un down and waited, 
and hoped to Gawd as they'd come on ! But no 
fear ; they hadn't got the spirit they hadn't 
got the spirit though we was only wan ! " 

We buried our dead from Dargai fight in the 


lonely, desolate valley at Shinwari ; and there, 
in unmarked graves, they rest in God. 

Just beneath the East window of Uenton 
Church, on a square plot of soft turf, kept 
closely mown and surrounded by a hedge of 
yew not more than eighteen inches high, are 
two recumbent stones. The one records that 
RUPERT GORE departed this life on the 
28th day of February, 1899, in the seventy- 
third year of his age ; and the other, that 
EDITH, his wife, followed him some five weeks 

But there is more. Between these two, 
stands a beautifully fashioned cross of our 
red Forest stone; and on the plinth below, 
run these words : 

To the Glory of God, 
and in loving memory of 

only son of Rupert and Edith Gore, 

who gave his life for his Country 

on the Indian Frontier, 2oth October 1897, 

in the 25th year of his age. 

This cross is placed here 

by the men, women, and children of this parish. 

I often go there on the long summer even- 


ings, when the sound of bat and ball and 
cheery laughter come from the village green, 
and the shadows of great elms stretch them- 
selves lazily over the cool grass. 

Peace let it be ! for I loved him and love him for ever; 
The dead are not dead but alive. 

By the same Author 

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